A favorite meal when I was a child was my mother’s roast beef. Dad would pick out a nice roast at the meat market on Friday evening, and Sunday morning Mother would put the roast in the oven after braising it in an iron skillet on top of the stove. To the roast, she added onions and celery for flavor, and potatoes and carrots. This baked in a slow oven while we were at church.

When we returned from church, you could smell the aroma of roast beef as soon as we opened the front door. Mother finished up the cheesy cauliflower casserole and set the table.

Our large kitchen table was set with Mother’s best dishes purchased at The Moore’s Store. They were eggshell-colored with pink apple blossoms. The off-white tablecloth and napkins were sewn by my aunt from damask material purchased at J.C. Penney. Relish and celery dishes were Cambridge Caprice.

When everything was cooked to the proper degree, Mother took the roast and vegetables out and proceeded to make gravy from the drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan. She never measured anything, just added a little of this and a little of that, and ended up with the most delicious gravy ever. The roast was cut into chunks and the vegetables placed into a large dish. With gravy, coleslaw, applesauce, and pickles added to the table, this was often our Sunday dinner.

But wait, I forgot dessert. One Sunday, we were having date nut pudding. Mother was so excited for she had purchased something new at the grocery. It was a can of Reddi Wip. As I took my portion of pudding, Mother topped it off with this new stuff. She aimed the nozzle at the cake and pushed. Out came this large glob of white whipped cream, hitting the pudding, (BEG ITAL)Plop!(END ITAL) Up it bounced, right onto my face. There I sat, all covered in whipped cream. For a moment, everyone was stunned into silence. Then we started to laugh. Oh, the memories of dinners past. They do last and last and last.