Family Dinner, Family Stories

A few years ago, as my family of four was sitting down to meatballs, it occurred to me that my daughters, then about 10 and 8 years old, had never heard one of the Rosenstrach’s most legendary stories, the kind of yarn has been told so many times (mostly by their grandfather) that we have forgotten where the truth begins and ends.

“Girls?” I asked as I grated some fresh parm over their plates, “Have I ever told you The Dog Story?”

I noticed the focus adjust in their eyeballs like the lens on a camera. I had their undivided attention, which, I should’ve known by then, is what always what happens when you start a dinner conversation with the words “Did I ever tell you the story…?”

I started in on The Dog Story…

Head over to Cup of Jo, where you can hear the whole thing. (Illustration by Kristen Solecki for Cup of Jo.)

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your book is the first i’ve ever pre-ordered, and i can’t wait to get it. there’s still an open invite for your family to come over for williamsburg pizza whenever you want — i’ll even think of a good dog story for you guys 🙂


That is hilarious!
My story is a little Southern Gothic – in most every southern family, there’s a wild and crazy streak. My Aunt Ann was that streak. She was very bohemian, having lived in various tropical places, and loved to talk, drink and smoke cigarettes. She was married to a nice guy named Ted. Ted died and was cremated, and his ashes were put in an urn. Aunt Ann took off to Florida, and Ted’s ashes were left in Alabama, in my uncle’s house. Years later, Aunt Ann died, and we all got around to wondering what happened to Ted’s ashes. No one could find them. Well, after my uncle died, family members were cleaning out his backyard shed, and came upon an odd jar-like container. They opened it up….and found Ted. Now that Ted and Ann have both long been in the hereafter, we all get a good laugh about Ted ending up in the tool shed…

Linda Castrilil

This is such a great example of how stories — even simple, everyday ones — can (and should!) be passed down through the generations. My favorite is when I overhear my kids recounting our family’s stories to their friends.


It’s so rare these days to have everyones undivided attention at the dinner table. Lucky you! On another note – that story was hilarious! I’m certain my family members would have said something sooner but I can see why you wouldn’t want to come off as rude or unwelcoming to the client.

H. Bowden