Monday, November 24, 2014

The communal cup

Sharing of food has always been part of the human story… “to break bread together,” a phrase as old as the Bible, captures the power of a meal to forge relationships, bury anger, provoke laughter…
Victoria Pope, National Geographic, December 2014

And all these things did indeed happen on the evening of November 13 as we gathered to honor our Dad on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
 In addition to the four of us

and assorted spouses, our cousin, who was raised not too far away until they moved North, but now lives in New York, and his father, who still lives in Northern California, also came, bringing with them beautiful flowers for the table...
 some dynamite sauerkraut from Trader Joe’s 
 (a few days later I bought 4 jars of it for Dad to enjoy)
and family photos of shared events—camping trips and holiday celebrations—many of which we had never seen before.

After the meal there was much hootin’ and hollerin’ and general laughter

as we shared memories and looked at versions of ourselves as young infants, children, awkward adolescents, and then at our weddings as young adults.

Then came the moment in the midst of this boisterous gathering when I picked up the cup of coffee in front of me on the coffee table
(you can just see it sitting there by my cousin's knee)
 and started drinking it and then realized it was my sister’s coffee—not mine—I had not yet gotten a cup for myself. Under other circumstances perhaps I would have said nothing and looked innocent but for some reason, this struck me as being hilariously funny. I do not laugh quietly.  

In some Christian traditions, the cup offered during the Communion service is a communal cup— everyone drinks from the same cup—and through the laughter and good-natured bantering that followed after I drank my sister’s coffee, I sensed that we were indeed communing in very real sense.


Linda Kay said...

What a lovely celebration, and awesome to have had a happy life of 90 years!

Far Side of Fifty said...

How wonderful for you to be able to go! Well I guess you shared a womb and many childhood germs so a sip out of her coffee cup is no big deal! Good that you can laugh about it! :)

Cloudia said...

Congratulations Sir!
Best wishes all-

“Sadder than destitution, sadder than a beggar is the man who eats alone in public. Nothing more contradicts the laws of man or beast, for animals always do each other the honor of sharing or disputing each other's food.”
Jean Baudrillard