TouchdownSunday dinners are a big deal to my family, as well as every other black family in the United States. The thought of having all your family spend time together and eat huge meals that will probably knock you out for days is wonderful. But, with my family, it was always more than just that.
The legacy of the Sunday dinners began with my grandmother, Mama Hazel. She would invite everyone she knew, family or not, to come to her home Sunday afternoon for a good meal. Now, this meal wasn’t your typical meal; this meal would include chicken, ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, collard greens, candied yams, and a roll at the very least!
Even after my grandmother passed, we continued these Sunday dinners. I personally don’t enjoy them, because the elders are the only ones who can sit at the dining room table and every one under 35 has to fend for themselves. Also, all anyone can talk about is each other or even more commonly, who had the audacity not to make an appearance. My family will talk about the same thing for hours on end! But the children, like me, would have to go in the back room or sit in the living room quietly while the “grown-folks” talk.
One of the few things I enjoy at the dinners is listening to the drunken people, and there was usually at least one of these people every time. My favorite story about a drunken family member is about my great-uncle, Ted. The dinners would alternate between my mother’s siblings, and this story occurred at my Aunt Nann’s home. Some of my family was watching the game in my Aunt’s den. I can’t remember how many drinks my Uncle Ted had, but he had enough! The game was getting good. I could tell by the reactions on all the men’s faces. Then, all of a sudden, Uncle Ted yells in a raspy tone, “Touchdown!” Instantly, every one yelled back at him, “We’re watching basketball!”
Now that I am a little older, I learned it is a good thing to reunite with your family ever so often. Every week, however, is too often! Also, I learned an important lesson from Uncle Ted: alcohol is not your friend!