Friday, October 5, 2012

Don't Sing at the Table

Trigiani, Adriana. Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.

My Thoughts
I knew I was going to love this book when I read the author's forward: "This book is a work of nonfiction based upon my conversations with and observations of my grandmothers, Yolanda Perin Trigiani and Lucia Spada Bonicelli. This is a portrait of my life with them as I knew it. I have told these stories on these pages from my point of view, painted with a personal brush, in colors I chose, for the purpose of sharing my personal experience. Any resemblance to others, living or dead, is completely coincidental."

I have not read Trigiani before this book, but I think I will enjoy reading her fiction because I enjoyed her style. There are so many lessons we learn from others---even when we don't realize we are learning the lessons. Trigiani does a wonderful job creating vivid pictures of her grandmothers. Even though both were from Italy, each woman's personality was unique.

As I read this book, I couldn't help but think about my own grandmothers---two women who led vastly different lifestyles. For example, one of my grandmothers was a member of the garden club; the other grandmother worked in a garden. Both loved me and taught me.

I marked several "lessons" in this book to post on this blog. The title reference is on page 164.
  • "Nobody has to see how many times you rip out the hem" (Trigiani 74).
Now, I'm not any kind of seamstress, but I understand this lesson. "Details mattered. The results of your hard work should appear effortless" (Trigiani 74). Keep doing something until it is done correctly.
  • "The first rule of savings is sacrifice. Before you pay any bill, pay yourself" (Trigiani 85).
The very first job I ever had, my dad tried teaching me this concept. I'm still learning this lesson.
  • "Begin each day in a state of calm" (Trigiani 102).
Oh, I wish I could each day. I notice that when I first wake up, I am calm and enjoy the quiet time of the morning. However, once I get to school, the madness begins, and it is a roller coaster of calm and crazy.
  • "There is nothing we can say to comfort the grieving, but there is definitely something we can do. We can show up" (Trigiani 151).
Enough said.
  • "Do what you can and know that it's just right" (Trigiani 165).
I struggle with this. I try to do what I can, but is it my justification or truly all that I can do? Is what I feel I can do living up to the expectations of others?
  • "When you can, walk" (Trigiani 169).
I love walking. I often think about how life was before society became spoiled with vehicles. I should walk more. Walking does clear my head and when I walk with a buddy, we solve all of the world's problems.
  • "When you truly love someone, you want the best for them, and their happiness is more precious to you than your own" (Trigiani 172).
Three other moments that I marked reminded me of honoring my own grandmothers. They are gone forever, and I miss them every day. Memories pop in my head of different moments spent with each of them. If I let myself think too much about missing them, I cry. If I let myself think about how my child won't know them, I cry. Sometimes I let myself cry. Reading this book, especially the last few chapters, made me cry. I know that Trigiani was writing about her own grandmothers, but I captured and shared her emotions in the reading.

No comments: