This is About Family, by Justin Olen

This is about my family, but mostly about the Dinner Table.
See, my family, the one I grew up with, is small.
Well, I guess it’s big, but I only knew a few folks: Mom and Dad and Seth,
Dinner time, for most of growin’ up, Mom and Dad and Seth and I ate dinner together
with no TV.
It was when I got to see Dad ‘cause he worked the night shift at the post office
and I had gymnastics and Hebrew school and we were never home together.
I didn’t always like dinner, but we always ate together.

Later, I moved away and went to school and traveled and traveled.
I met folks and we ate together:
I had Thanksgiving in my dorm room and in my bedroom in France.
Oh!, and the Thanksgiving I killed the turkey…
(My friends still talk about that.)
I shared fruit with circus kids on the roof of a cook truck.
(They were on stilts, of course.)
I ate smoked salmon on Troublesome Creek in Alaska with folks who ain’t
showered in a month.
(Even though we were workin’ hard, we swore nothing tasted better!)
…I didn’t always have a proper Dinner Table, but we always made due.

And when I came home the other night, the house smelled like ham.
I used to not eat meat, but ham!
Everyone made a little something for the meal.
Everyone said a little something between bites of food.

Everyone was a part of something:
They were family, my family, the only family I know, ‘cause that’s where family
is, at the Dinner Table.