Senior Storytelling, a View from the Kids

It’s usually nestled in the corner, tucked out of view. Always on the periphery of your vision and your conversation, but it is always there–the children’s table.

As families gather for holiday feasts, allow yourself to go back in time to your children’s table. Place yourself in the diminutive seats of your youth, with clothes that don’t fit quite right and an appetite for two.

What do you remember? Surely you recall that first bitter taste of your favorite aunt’s infamous green bean casserole, or the food fight with your favorite cousin; but if you’re like me, most of what you remember from the children’s table was actually happening at the “grown up” one.

Vividly engrained in my early memories are whimsical stories from the eldest generation in my family. Although I was hardly involved, they made quite an impression:

“Tell me again about your first horse, dad”, my father would say to his, “or how life was like when cars had fins”.

“Well, I’ll tell you how your mother wrecked the Buick, and, son, that horse was fast as the wind”, Grandpa would reply.

Oh, how they would pander. They would tell tale tales about far off places, of people I had never met, and great triumphs I could never begin to comprehend– a cheeseburger and a soda for a nickel? They would tell jokes, laugh, and inadvertently dispense their infinite wisdom to us all.

And so the imagination of many children has been filled around the holiday table, eavesdropping on the secret world of grown ups–truth often mirroring fiction. Indeed, much of what I remember of my grand parents came from stories shared during the holiday season. Without those conversations, I would never have known my grand parents or appreciated them in the same way I do today.

The holidays present a unique opportunity in today’s fast-paced digital life to continue the grand oral tradition of humanity. So, as you celebrate around the grown up table this holiday season, take the time to share. Pass the turkey, pass the pie, and pass the stories–for everyone who’s there.


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