Tuesday is the most enjoyable evening of our week. My husbands Grandparents, their three children, and their children, everybody who can make it, comes to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner. No matter how much I drag my feet to get myself there, I've never regretted going. Here's a few of the reasons why.
Grandma's cooking. As an uncle always says, they are "above average" dinners. We've never had an average or heaven forbid a below average meal. Grandma will tell you, it was easy to do, nothing to worry over, but secretly we all know she spends all week doing her planning, preparing, marinating, and roasting.
The Japan Game. Grandpa served an LDS mission in Japan. When their kids were little Grandma and Grandpa served in a Japanese ward here in Utah. Japan holds a special place in everyone's heart. Every Tuesday, our uncle tried to find ways to get Grandpa to say "Japan." A Tuesday dinner is not complete until Grandpa has said the magic word. Tonight I think Grandpa finally won the game by proclaiming "Japan!" right in the middle of conversation, making the moment worth every giggle and praise we paid him.
Feeding Grandpa. In his senior years grandpa has a hard time making his body eat enough food. He's lost a lot of weight in the past few years, so our cousin was assigned to sit next to Grandpa, encourage him to eat, and report back to Grandma. She tried so diligently today to get Grandpa to have some peas, she made all the sounds Grandpa has taught us to get babies to eat, gwowing, which is a sound produced by saying gwow in the back of your throat while rolling your tongue. She even barked at him, Grandpa's specialty, but he could not be convinced and gave her his kindest scowl.
Teasing the whale. I think it is in retribution for our cousins excellent care of Grandpa and making sure he eats that in addition to saying Japan, Grandpa always remembers to chide her and call a whale. She laughs and elbows Grandpa as she munches on her salad, and pours her second drink of juice. We all like to join in and everybody has a good natured belly laugh about it, including the whale.
Ask the Uncle. Our uncle is the kind of person who throws everybody else off. I never know what he's thinking or what he's going to say next, but there's no denying how intelligent he is. Mike and I love to save up our questions to ask him, like when we read a scripture we didn't understand, or what does he think about tattooed wedding rings, or what he thinks of Obama. He always has an answer that makes us think just a little bit more, and he's our well of information and good opinions.
Talks with Grandma. Grandma always seems to get around to every person by the end of the night, and ask how you are doing, how's school, how are your parents, how is this project you were working on, what is new in your life? She always knows what to ask, and always remembers what you spoke about the last time, so she can ask for a follow up and get an update on your progress. Grandma says that when she was young, she was shy, and that she has learned to have good conversations through practice. She has the ability to make you feel like you are the most important person in the room, and her love for her family shows through, when she talks to each of us.
Eating Competitions. When all the older boys have come to Grandma's from school, or work, or we have another one home from a mission, there is always an eating competition. The best competitions take place over hot dogs, mini tacos, skewers, and ribs. I'm not sure what the Tuesday Dinner record is on ribs, but it's got to be enormous. Even I have no self restraint on Tuesdays and usually eat twice as much as I ever normally would.
Grandpa's Garden. I learned how to garden from Grandpa. I saw my first homegrown potatoes in Grandpa's garden, learned what wall of water is and the proper planting time for tomatoes, cucumber vines grow upward on a slanted wire fence he created, fruit trees must be sprayed for bugs, carrots and beets can grow all winter. He taught me to put plastic over my garden and cut holes for the plants so I don't have to weed as much, and he taught me how to install a drip system for watering. All the kids are required to help Grandpa with his garden, and even us married kids are no exception to the rule.
Sometimes it is tiring to sacrifice the time I could be spending relaxing in my own living room. "Ugh" I'll say "I just want one quiet evening at home, it seems like we're always going somewhere." Later, when we're all loaded in the car after an above average meal, great conversation, and had our souls lifted, I'm never sorry I went. I fear the day when Tuesday Dinners will come to a close, I know they can't go on in Grandma's house forever. When that happens I've decided to carry on the tradition with my children and parents, and someday Mike & I hope to be the Grandma and Grandpa we have witnessed so many Tuesdays before.