I would like to commend writers Walker Larson and Louise Chambers for their complementary pieces on family life, “A Tradition That Nourishes Hearts and Minds” and “A Family Experiment: Fasting from TV,” respectively [published in the Sept. 6–12 edition].
As one of nine children from a middle-class working family with a stay-at-home mom and a working dad who was a carpenter, at a time when TVs were larger than today’s washing machines and only came in black and white, these two stories hit home. Family dinner, or as we called it, “supper,” was pretty much a sacred time. Two children would set the table, tablecloth, place settings, while others would help mom get ready for the eventual arrival of dad from work. It wasn’t until dad was home that we all sat down as a family to eat. The TV was in the den and was never on during meals, nor did any of us ever ask to take her dinner into that room.
At the table, we not only shared homemade, wholesome, and delicious food, we shared our stories of the day. There were times when dad was so tired from a long day of work that all he would do is listen, but those times seemed particularly special. Grace was always said, and despite all of the youngsters around the table, the silence was profound during the prayer.
After dinner, we would all help clean up, do the dishes, and then get to our homework. Dad would watch Walter Cronkite and then chat with mom. Now seven decades later, in my own retirement, I do not have a television set. Some people think that’s bizarre to the point where they won’t even come to visit, because they don’t know what they would do with themselves. I have a vast library of great books, there are board games, I have chickens and bees, flowers and vegetables, hiking trails, and a great porch to watch hummingbirds navigate the feeders. Needless to say, I find the world extremely expensive when I read newspapers and novels, biographies and documentaries.
I salute the Winger family because they are experiencing one of God’s greatest gifts: their family.
Rev. Dr. Louis Guerin Georgia