Monday, April 4, 2011

Cake, Tea And Catalogs At The Kitchen Table

Here On Bradstreet, we're all about family traditions and ritual. We think it's important to mark time and to recognize those moments, large and small in our lives. We're big on building and recording memories, laughing and loving together. As such, we were at the Bradstreet homestead this weekend to celebrate my father-in-law's seventy-eight years. Nana made a delicious lunch for us and we brought a cake from our favorite local bakery.

dinner at the homestead
quiche and salad
78 birthdays

Nana poured tea, Papa cut the cake (into gargantuan servings, with instruction from Adam) and later, the kids played a duet on the antique and mostly tuneless piano.

black tea, a ritual
you should cut it like this...
tea and cake
nana's piano

After a walk in the snow covered woods and various cat naps, we were all seated around the pine table again for more tea. For some reason a ritual has evolved where we sit at the table and peruse the countless, odd catalogs that come in my in-law's mail. We find this relaxing, I think, and everyone does it, and for the nearly twenty-one years that I've known them, we've had this ritual. When someone discovers some particularly dubious item, it's pointed out to all so we can share in the derisive mirth.

the brook
the catalog ritual
dubious catalog finds
file under "frightening things found in grandparents' catalogs"

I sincerely hope that no one in our family feels the need to invest in charcoal filters for their undies (or fashions for their yard goose, for that matter.) These catalogs are always full of such items, varying from the seemingly plausible usefulness, to the bizarre and ridiculous (unless of course you want your garden goose to glam it up rockabilly style.) While we can not picture ourselves wanting fake ivy for our fence or giant plastic hollow rocks for our garden or ever wishing we had a fancy lace dickie to wear with our v-neck sweater, we might secretly find that one incredibly useful thing that someone had the notion to invent. And that's why we enjoy sitting and laughing together over stacks of catalogs. It's that combination of the hideous awkwardness, shared snickering and the thrill of discovery, sitting together on a weekend afternoon. It's one of those rituals, like cake on birthdays, that builds family traditions. Tea and cake and tunes played on the piano and local gossip, those rituals come easily to mind when I think on the things that make us a family. But it's those little things too, like discovering and sharing in the absurd around a kitchen table that makes us family. And I've got the pictures to prove it.


  1. i love finding quirky things too. i wish we had family like that - people that were a regular comfortable part of our lives. our family interactions are always awkward and rare. :)

  2. Charcoal filters... I just about lost it! That is so funny!!!
    Really, I think I know a certain someone who could benefit from these.

    Always fun to pop in and see what the Bradstreet family is up too:)

  3. Now I know what to get my son-in-law for Christmas!



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