Holidays, the special time when the family gathers together. We sit around the table and share a holiday meal, a variety of foods, full course meals, soup to nuts, salad, appetizer, fresh baked breads with butter, perhaps some olives and other assorted pickled vegatables. A wonderful assortment of flavors and tastes, to excite every childs immagination. More than one desert and each child permitted to sample them all, that's what the holidays are for.
As always for every holiday the family is gathered seated around the table enjoying the much anticipated feast, father seated at the offical head of the table, mother at his side closest to the kitchen to organize and orchestrate the days ritual "breaking of the bread".
The room filled with animated individuals, chatting, laughing, feasting, enjoying, celebrating.
And as always, after the main course, father sits back slightly in his chair, the sign of his satisfaction at being sate. Automatically, the room quiets.
Father moves a little closer and props his elbows on the table. First his hands seem to be stretching his fingers as exercises after hours holding a fork and knife. He says he is thinking about his cousin Joe Zito, he was the elevator operator in the Triangle Factory, we can see his childhood memories written on his face, we have seen them before. He says his cousin had to close the door of the elevator, when it was full to save those women. Noone else could fit. He said his cousin always remembered the faces of the other women waiting at the elevator door as he closed the door in their face.
He said that after that his cousin was never the same. Fathers hands folded together, and unfolded, his fingers intertwined, then he moved both hands with his fingertips to his forehead and covered as if to wash his face. It seemed as though he was cleansing, erasing the thought from his face and his mind. Yet it lingered, we all sat back quietly in our seats, with our thoughts, our images.
Coffee is served, we all are glad we are there together, as we are for all the holiday meals, year after year. And at every holiday meal with us is our fathers cousin Joe Zito.