The Christmas Dinner

The Christmas Dinner

Every year my family and I would drive 18 hours from North Carolina to Florida to have Christmas dinner with my mom, and to escape the bitter cold. Mom didn’t travel much so this was the one time of the year she could see her grandchildren. I’m an only child and felt this was very important to keep their relationship.


The trip was long and sometimes uncomfortable. As driver and Dad, I had full control of the radio and CDs, so that meant 18 hours of classic rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and classic soul. Currently my children, now in their 20’s, are masters of “old school music.” You’re welcome kids!


The Dinner

The trip to grandma’s house was a part of a time honored tradition so that they could engage in, what I like to call ‘the dinner.’ The four of us would sit around the 1950s era dining room set table. The table was made of Formica and chrome and had a yellow flower print plastic table cloth covering it.  There were four blue and chrome chairs, also from the late 1950’s, positioned around the table.


As we all gathered in the kitchen, mom would open the in-wall oven and pull out the seasons sacrifice; usually a small turkey, chicken, or ham. For the next hour we would sit and do that thing where you pick up a bit of food on the fork and pretend to eat. Mom wasn’t the best cook, not even “good” according to my wife’s standards, but mom did love to serve.  So this event was special to her.  The food would ultimately, and mysteriously end up in our pant-leg cuffs and lap napkins to give the appearance of a clean plate.


After the dinner and some good quality time with grandma, we would pile into the car, smiling and waving bye,  as we’d headed off to Denny’s for our real Christmas meal.

Many years have passed and I miss those 18 hour drives, the stacks of CD’s in the cars middle console, but most of all – I miss the time around the little table with the blue chrome chairs with mom. It was never about the meal but always about “the dinner.”


Story Shared By:
Alonzo Felder, Founder and President
My Roots Foundation


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