No Time to Chew

We boys had too many things to do.  There was no time to languish at the kitchen table.  “Es nisht azoy shnel,” (Don’t eat so fast) was Mama’s admonition. 

We had chores before going to meet the school bus down at Route #12, a mile east of Baptistown, New Jersey.  If it were suppertime (dinner), there still were eggs to clean and pack, or chickens that had to be culled, moved or vaccinated.

The only exception was Thanksgiving when it was non-stop eating from dinner (lunchtime) to supper.  That occasion allowed us plenty of time to slow down and relish Mama’s great food.  As well, Mama did not have to say, “Es nisht azoy shnel.”

There was plenty of talking; mostly we boys were bantering about girls.  Mama and Papa were highly amused and never commented.

Attending Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, I had to work for room and meals.  Lunch was 90 minutes between classes.  I ran a mile in ten minutes to the Hungarian deli.  After washing dishes for an hour, there was ten minutes to eat, and ten minutes back to class.  My lunch often consisted of a pint of ice cream and half of a pie.

Luckily, I have most of my teeth and no falsies.  I still eat too fast and slow (up or down) only when Mama’s words resound in my ears.  I hear, “Fishele, kay, kay, es nisht azoy shnel,” and then I slowly chew and swallow my food.