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Mountain Ridge

The Family that eats together

Warning: child endangerment

As a child, we always ate together as a family around that large round maple table. 

Several weeks ago, my sister let me know that the table is now being stored in my dead dad’s shed. What did we want to do with it? 

One thought came to my mind–Burn the mother! 

I want to see that table incinerated. I wish to see every fiber of that awful piece of furniture turn to ash, to make sure it never impacts any of us again. 

I have my reasons…

I remember back when my oldest sister, a brother, a neighborhood kid and I were caught smoking cigarettes. I was only 6 years old at the time. My dad came up with a solution to make sure we never smoked again. (Meanwhile, both my parents smoked.) 

The three of us were forced to sit around the table, my baby sister in the high chair near us. Dad placed a carton of Camel non-filter cigarettes in front of each of us. 

For hours, we were given one cigarette after another. We each turned green and vomited. Then he gave us another round. 

There were even photos taken of that day, of the moment of our torture, of us and that table.

Another terrible table event occurred in the early fall of 1983. 

Mom called us kids to dinner. We waited patiently for the pork chops, baked potatoes and applesauce, the yummy smell making our tummies rumble. 

The phone rang. It was my brother calling from Germany where he was stationed with the army.

Excited as only a younger sister can be when her oldest sibling calls, I waited my turn to talk. Dinner is all but forgotten by now. 

Something shifted and the energy in the dining room changed immediately. We could all sense the tension. 

My father's face morphed into an angry mask… 

“What did you say?”

“How could you do this?” 

“What the hell are you thinking?” 

We knew something very bad was about to happen.

Within seconds, my father pulled the phone cord out of the wall. He pushed his chair back forcefully as he stood up. 

My 5’2” father placed both his hands under the edge of the table and flipped it over. Dishes, utensils and food flew through the air and landed with a crash.

My youngest sister cried.  

My brother ran out the kitchen door and down the porch stairs in his stocking feet. 

I stood in shock as that angry tornado attacked our dining room. 

My mother tried to calm the storm.

A sideboard was ripped off the wall. Those of us still in the room stumbled to avoid being hit by the heavy wood. 

We then fought to get to the front door and, possibly, a freedom of some sort. 

That day was the day my oldest brother called to let my parents know they would be grandparents. 

What should have been happy news turned into one of the worst moments in my life. 

This is why I wish to see this table burned. My sister shockingly agreed with me.

That table holds some of the worst memories of my life were her words. 

The family that eats together isn’t necessarily the family that stays together. 

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May 27, 2023

Wow! Some of your story resonates with me and I am grateful much of it does not. Our dad's both had horrible tempers. Mine still does. I'm sorry you went through so much as a child but I am so grateful you survived it and are here to share your story. I feel the need to go with in my journal.

Becki Lund
Becki Lund
Sep 09, 2023
Replying to

Having a father with a temper often causes us to become so much smaller for protection. I am so sorry for the childhood you endured. I know it wasn’t easy and I’m grateful that you chose to have love in your hard rather than anger and sadness. I hope your journey continues to be healing. Sending love and support.

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