Not every lunch is so fancy. Certainly not in grade school. Brown bag it or hot dogs in the cafeteria were the main fare.
But back when I was in grade school there was a period of time where we were served, formally, a high fallootin lunch in the formal dining room. In our own home. By our dad.
Though not bottle washer.
He had his standards (limits).
I’m not sure what started this little tradition. But back in the day of my grade school era dad started a short lived tradition. I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember if it lasted a month or an entire school year. But it was a while. Dad owned his own business and he often slept later than us getting up and going to school. We walked to the local catholic grade school in the morning. He got up some time after we left for school and went to work. He was gone when we walked home for lunch. We walked back after lunch. We walked home after school. Dad was gone until 1 ro 2 a.m. There was a lot of time we didn’t see dad.
But suddenly we saw him. Once a week we tromped home from school. To find dad, in the kitchen, with the dining room set for us to have a sit down, formal and fancy lunch. One time he served us an orange soup first. I remember it being very good. But he would not tell us what it was. He just kept saying it was named after #6 of the 8 of us. Mind you #6 was pretty young, younger than me. Much smaller than me. It was an orangish, creamy soup if I remember correctly. Which I probably don’t. None of us could figure out what this fancy soup was. It was finally revealed: shrimp soup.
I’ve never had it since. But I remember it from that lunch.
Then dad served us a main course. I don’t remember what that was.
Then dad served us dessert. I don’t remember what that was.
What I do remember is dad. I remember walking in the back door of the house. Dad standing in the kitchen. Well, he wasn’t just standing. He was cooking. He was ushering us in to the dining room. He seated us. He walked around the table, behind us, serving us. Properly. Starter. Main course. Dessert.
We had a proper dining room that we did not use on a daily basis. But for these lunches, we used it. Dad would already have the table set. All the niceties not normally afforded the bunch of us as we barreled in the door at lunch time in a hurry to eat and go back to school to play recess. But I don’t ever remember hurrying out the door from the dad lunches to play on the playground.
The lunches were better.
We had our formal waiter. Our own chef. Entertainment, to some degree.
It was all pretty exciting. And very special. Especially now, without him, but always in my memory.
Having dad serve us lunch.