Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Art of Conversation

"There is nothing like good conversation to make you digest your dinner

and feel charity towards all."

Andrew Nelson Lytle in A Wake for the Living

Yes, I'm back on the subject of conversation at mealtimes. No, I'm not ranting this time like I did in an earlier post here! This time I'm just singing a pean to good conversation, anytime but especially at mealtimes. Maybe it's been on my mind since we've recently had visits from our children who don't live near us, and those visits meant such good times around the breakfast and dinner table. This post is just a celebration of that and perhaps a teeny bit of a cautionary tale to anyone who might need a wakeup call in this area. 

R.H. has tried so many times to get a good shot of this "commissioned" painting our daughter-in-law Wallace did for me. It is one of my treasures. Are you able to read the lovely words that are raised on it? It reads:

"Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;

good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest."

from Proverbs

This is not a post where I'm going to go on and on.............

This post is just a celebration of all the good talks a family or a family and their guests can have to turn a good meal into a great meal. I can hear you all now, at your barbecues this summer or at lazy Saturday morning breakfasts, enjoying the art of conversation...........

"My favorite method of entertaining, however, if I could accomplish it would be to have a few people to  dinner one night each week, with talk and more talk following, 
around the fire. 
The whole delicate, fiery, life-making art of conversation is dying fast. 
If I had nothing else to do I would stump the country advocating 'conversation clubs.'
Intelligent people everywhere need to get together and talk."

Agnes Sligh Turnbull (1939)

My hand is cupped to my ear? You are talking, aren't you?


  1. Dewena, I am all for today's technology , but not at the table. I noticed this past Christmas that some of my grandkids were on their darn phones . Too much to suit me. I feel it is rude.I even say will they learn, if it isn't pointed out.:):) xoxo,Susie

  2. Dewena every meal when we sit we all claim; Mangia, Mangia ...No Talk! Then we tell each other our daily activities, what is on our minds, we laugh and we come together with smiles, words, laughter and above all else sometime a sigh! That is my dinner table a good meal, and our company! I wouldn't have any other way!!!!!! Thank you!!!!

  3. Good morning Sis, oh I love this post! One of my joys is having family here for meals and lingering at the table over dessert and enjoying the conversations and subjects we all discuss. The words from Proverbs are great and beautifully painted. You and RH have a wonderful weekend, Deb

  4. Oh, how true! Great post, Dewena. We have several plaques, pictures etc around the house with meaningful messages. This would be a great one to add.

  5. Dewena, you are so right on target with this post. My grown sons have such different schedules that when everyone gets together and we share a meal, the conversation is golden! They seem "witty" and all talk in paragraphs! It's amazing how my husband joins in and there seems to be more laughter than words! I love it! Have a great week!

  6. Thursday evening we had a few friends over for dinner, and we lingered and talked from 6 until nearly 9. Fun. I agree with the Agnes Turnbull quote, "My favorite method of entertaining, however, if I could accomplish it would be to have a few people to dinner one night each week, with talk and more talk following,
    around the fire."

  7. I miss those kinds of conversations. Don and I have great conversations, of course, but seldom do we get a chance to gather together with loved ones and talk and talk for hours during and after a meal. Here, here!


  8. I love a good conversation over dinner- as long as I am not sitting next to someone that has nothing but fluff in her I haven't had a dinner party in a while-some of the best conversations happen there- xo Diana

  9. What I miss most since Dave's death, is the conversation. Rarely do I engage in good conversation and I miss it...all right...him so much. I miss hearing his deep voice, his laugh.
    heck. maybe I shouldn't gone there.

  10. Oh how I love good conversation! Since his birth, nearly 20 years ago, I have had lunch with my youngest son Nick! It gave us so much insight! When he left for college, in Kansas, last year, I was heartbroken. Although I want him to have an education and a good life I was hard hit, missing him. It was hard that first month getting to lunch and being alone. Then my older son Jeremy took a job where he was gone long hours so I started to come home at lunch to entertain his dogs! LOL! We always sat around the table when I was a kid! Memories, sweet memories, and so much great conversation stored in my mind!
    I love this, thank you!

  11. Funny you should mention this - I just told my family last night that we need to linger at the table longer and talk more. I gathered funny looks from teenagers, but hey, I planted the seed.

  12. Oh my goodness Dewena. You should sit around our table!

    Friday night, as you know, a big old EF3 tornado passed through our part of world. Our son in law was at work. It was edgy. I wrote about it today in a post at the Back Porch.

    We planned going to the Friends of St Charles Library Book Fair. This is a regular outing for our family. After son in law's Friday night, he had no office to go to on Saturday, so he joined us at the book fair. After the book fair, another son in law joined us for lunch. As usual there was a rousing/lively conversation around the table. We enjoyed it so much and even more so after the close calls our family experienced Friday night. All our children live in St Charles.

    These meals and lively conversation aren't always around the big table in the breakfast room or served up buffet style at the homes of our children. Our Saturday lunch place was chosen by 7 year old grandson Drew...Red Robin...yum. It was delightful and full of words! And of course, spirit lifting.

  13. i often worry that i talk too much. but i love thoughts and words. and people who can and will talk. probably why i can literally live in books.
    and the dialogue in old movies is so delightful.
    i hope we don't lose the art of good conversation. it would be a great loss.
    one of my joys now is sharing lunches and dinners with the marine where we sit and linger... talking afterward... we solve all the world's problems! and we laugh. and it's simply good for my soul.
    and to my unending delight... little jacob is a talker.
    did i mention... i like your conversation here always? i do.

  14. It's a great concept to sit around the table and chat. We all have busy lives, but to take some time out with friends or family is a must!
    Sharing our lives is sweet. Thank you as always for your loving support. xo Linda

  15. I love the Agnes Sligh Turnbull quote. 1939 and people were, even then, worried about conversation 'dying fast.' Amazing. The more things change...

    Very early on in the blog I wrote about Little Christmas. It is one of my favorite books.

  16. You are so right, Dewena. We have quit talking. We've also quit writing notes. We text; we blog; we email. No talking and no writing to each other. Worrisome habits we've developed. When I do get the chance to talk to someone, I'm afraid I do more talking than listening. A very worrisome habit. Thanks for your insightful post. laurie


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