The kitchen table. In my family, it was here that important discussions had their genesis. Opinions were readily expressed on religion, politics, family values, money matters, raising children, taking care of the elderly, education, social responsibility and death. Typically, the children listened, and the adults talked. That said, at a very young age I had a clear idea of the persuasions, perspectives and prejudices of those who sat around the kitchen table with their cups of strong, black coffee. Occasionally, discussions were heated, and tempers flared. For emphasis, there was an occasional smack of the hand on the table top. But, at the end of the day these same strongly opinionated kinfolk showed their unending love and respect for each other with hugs, kisses and goodbyes – until the next spirited visit took place.