“So in the parlor they would pull out these bridge tables and let me think, I’m pretty sure it was just the bridge tables and we’d set them up as one long table and one table was always like really shaky and they’d tape the vinyl tablecloths to the sides of them even though they were just bridge tables and we would have Thanksgiving or -I think it was mostly at Thanksgiving, I think one time we celebrated an Easter meal but it wasn’t on Easter, it was just around that time, in there, and we would do that in the parlor and some rickety folding chairs with pink vinyl seats, although the pink had faded more to a tinted beige, made to look like a fake wicker and we’d have meals in there; I’m pretty sure that it was one of those near-Easter days that we had lamb, and she would set up a TV tray in the kitchen right in front of that pantry door beside the sink and that was were she would -it was like a TV tray table, and she would pull out this big wooden carving block and that was were she would cut the meat, or Dad would cut the meat, and they’d put it on platters and the platters would go out to the dining room table; normally, Dad would cut the meat -Dad, or one of the other men; Uncle Pete or Grandpa David and it was always such a fascinating block, don’t know why, all carved from years of use -the giant meat fork and the knife just slicing through the meat.”
Why do I remember that block of wood? It was thick. Literally a block of wood. Softened edges looked tremulous every time the base of the knife sliced through sinew to knick them. Deep grooves from years upon years of use conveyed the comfort of an object stable enough to have been trusted for so long.
I’m almost positive that that Easter was when I tasted mint jelly for the first time. Such an odd little concoction, tinted with such a rich green. Placed amid a myriad of dishes on that row of assorted, square table-faces rising and sinking into the knobby carpet to a variety of heights and instability, it was the fantastical element of that meal. Strange how small those blocks of table-pattern compare to the heftiness of a block of a cutting board in the memory.