Grandma and Grandpa, may they rest in peace, used to have everybody at their table on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Routinely there were twenty of us, ("you are exaggerating, as usual") sitting around for hours, fighting over the chulent bone.
Of course whoever could wash, get through the salad and dig in the fastest would win.
I remember that Grandma used to take the plate away while my fork was still in mid-air. "You're done, right?"
And then all the girls would get up and "help" bringing food into and out of Grandma's kitchen.
Which had a pretty narrow squeeze in between the dining room and that space.
Probably the men helped too but my most vivid recollection is of myself, my mother and the aunts rushing into and out of the space.
The men would argue. That is what they did on Shabbos and I have to say I learned from the best.
Aunt Renee would get in there, G-d bless her, she was the first woman in the family to go out and get a Ph.D.
What a bomb Aunt Renee was.
My father was immature and sexist at the time. It's been a lot of years and he's not the same person as he was. But back then.....whooaaa.
None of the women bothered getting into it with him, but Renee sure did. I would watch her in delight, and in amazement. Go get 'em, I used to think because I had to watch all that sexism play out at home.
So Daddy and Renee would get into it. But as I think about it now, I'm so much like my dad as a grownup. I did not appreciate it at the time but there is something very lovable and in-touch about him, something warm and he is no slouch in the brains department either.
Whereas she seemed a bit cold.
I've since met a lot of people of different types and this seems like a Myers-Briggs thing. I'm 99% sure Renee is an ESTJ and my uncle (my mom's brother) Jay is an INTJ. The "T" part is very pronounced in both of them.
Versus my dad strikes me as an ENFP all the way. Chasidish.
It drove my mother's family up the wall.
I'm trying to think of who argued with my father the most. I can't remember. What I do recall is Daddy saying the most "outrageous" things and the family groaning collectively - "Oh, Alex!"
Which was the same thing my mom said all the time.
And this: "Come on!"
When I grew up and got married I saw that Shabbos tables everywhere are pretty much the same.
Although in my husband's family -- he comes from Germany -- the words took on a slightly different tenor.
The instruments we play may be different, but the songs of Jewish family love always remain the same.
All opinions my own. Family photo of Grandma and Grandpa, Muriel and Murray Garfinkel, a"h.