Looking at pictures from my childhood always tugs a little on my heartstrings. I have been blessed all through my life with family, friends and all the other intangibles that brings one wealth. But this aging photograph is particularly poignant and sweet.
My little brother, now 43, was turning two years old. It was the summer of 1966 when I shared this meal with my brothers and sisters, and I was five. The old black rotary phone hangs on the north wall, a party line that we shared with our neighbor: one ring for her...two for us. The calendar, always there beside it was marked with eight family birthdays in my mother's handwriting. Crisp, white curtains at the east window were probably sewn from sheets because Mother always knew how to stretch a dime. A plaque on the wall reads, "My house is clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy", a verse that makes me smile now because finding that balance is a real trick for any mother, but especially one of six. The glass turkey candy dish was always on the buffet and though an antique now, was a part of my memory for as far as it goes back.
What makes this picture special is that it includes two pieces of furniture that now sit in my own home: the buffet with glass doors and the round, oak table. They are relics from my past, reminders of another world when families were everything and times, simpler. Here we were all together. My mother was young and vibrant, tanned from her days on the farm and aglow with the love for her children.
I keep this photograph on that very buffet, next to that same table in my dining room. It reminds me of where and who I came from and the blessings I received growing up the way I did. And though that little girl of 1966 is all grown up now, she often longs for the times when the days stretched wonderfully before her, life was new, and all the riches in the world sat around an old oak table.