Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

THE KITCHEN TABLE – Gina Toney Lavatai

I am blessed to have four terrific children.  Their birth years are 1962, 1966, 1986, and 1989.  The first three are my daughters and the last is my son.  I’m thrilled to be their daddy and thank the Great Guy In the Sky for the privilege.  1966 daughter, Gina, sent this to me a few days ago.  I thought I’d share it.

Tonie Ansel Toney (Cloudman23)

Oren & Marge Toney farm – 2010 – CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The Kitchen Table

Gina Toney Lavatai

Farmland, Indiana is your typical Hometown, USA. The population is small enough where people know you, or know someone who knows you and everyone seems to know the details of your life. Where ice cream socials, street fairs with cake walks and hometown parades still exist. It is here where I spent many summers growing up and here is where my heart calls home.

I miss those summers spent in Indiana on the farm I am often transported back to those summer days with the smell of fresh baked snicker doodle cookies or seeing children catch lightning bugs in a jar. Sometimes its seeing my own children playing outside at night with flashlights or hearing a family story thats been shared time and time again. Whatever the trigger, I love how it always brings me back to the hours spent at the kitchen table.

My Aunt Marge and Uncle Oren are technically my Great Aunt and Uncle on my dad’s side. However, I would consider them to be as close as grandparents to me. They live on a farm and have lived there since the beginning of time. Every summer when we would go home, we would stay on the farm with them. My days were filled with playing outside in the fields, making homemade ice-cream, walking around collecting Queen Ann’s Lace, playing in the barn, visiting cousins or cutting the tons of grass on the riding mower. My evenings were filled with catching fireflies, playing flash light tag in the pines, arm wrestling with my cousins in the front room, and waiting for my uncle to get home from work.

Uncle Oren was a farmer by day and a factory worker at Warner Gear in Muncie at night. When we would visit, he would love to call home on his CB radio and pretend he was racing to cross the tracks before the train came through. Half the time, he would pretend like he didn’t make it and came to a horrible demise! That always caused our hearts to skip a beat!

Our nightly ritual was to get out the cheddar cheese and saltines and lay them on a plate. Aunt Marge would typically start pulling out some leftovers from our earlier supper too. One of the things Aunt Marge was known for, was never letting you leave her kitchen hungry.

When we heard the gravel spitting from the tires, we knew he was home. The final step was to pull out a cold Michelob for Uncle Oren, or Orenry as I liked to call him.

There we would be, excited as kids would be hoping to see Santa at Christmas, waiting for Uncle Orenry to come through the mud room door. He would sit down, pop his top on his cold beer and we would start talking about his day or just telling family stories as he munched on his cheese and crackers. Uncle Orenry is the best story teller. We would sit there laughing for hours until we had to pull ourselves away and go to bed.

The table in that kitchen is more than a piece of furniture where meals are shared. It is a place were sorrow and loss have been worked through. It is a place were life has been celebrated. It is a place were hard decisions have been made. It is a place where heartfelt laughter and joy have resonated and most of all, it is without a doubt the best definition of LOVE.

I truly miss my summers around the table and being on the farm. I hope my children get the opportunity to experience a piece of life at the Toney Farm Kitchen Table one day soon. It is one place that really reminds you what life is supposed to be about.