The family was gathered. The table was laid. Rice and peas (gungo), jerk chicken, mutton, roast potatoes, plantain, sweetcorn fritters and other delicious extras. We all held hands, it was time to give thanks…
Sunday dinners. A staple tradition of many West Indian homes. From I was a child, Sunday dinner was a special affair. It was the day in the week when we were all guaranteed to sit around the table together; and that lots of extras dishes would be made.
It was also a guarantee that at least once a month (if not more) guests would be gathered around the table with us. Just last week, my Mum and I were reminiscing and marvelling about how on earth we managed to get so many people home in our car. Then, fit them into our front room. Which was the size of an average bedroom complete with sofas and Tv.
Much of the prep was done the night before and first thing Sunday morning. If you were church-going folk, once you got home from service and changed out of your church clothes, it was into the kitchen to do the finishing touches. Ready, set the table then go eat yu belly full; before heading back out for evening service.
Today when we held hands to give thanks, as Dad began to pray I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes. It took me by surprise. Even though I am aware that my emotions are fairly close to the surface at the moment. There has just been so much to navigate and process lately. Particularly within the Black community.
Having thought about it a little bit more, I think it was because this was the first time since I returned to the UK 5 months ago that all of us – niece and nephew included -were sat together around the dining table having a meal. Covid, lockdown, global events etc. have made life so different for people all over the world. All of us being together having Sunday dinner was priceless. I think also encapsulated in that brief moment was the recognition that I know many people have lost loved ones (including within my own family) and so Sunday and family dinners for them will never be the same.
I’m grateful for the moment we shared today. Penning this post while there is still some of Sunday left, is just one way in which to acknowledge it.