In 1871 people, when Mezzacello was new, families, children, and probably servants spent their days very differently. On a rainy day, me and my favorite dad, Rick made a visit to The Columbus Museum of Art to see the Dutch Masters Exhibit. I had wanted Rick to see this show because I knew he’d love it.

An antique high chair for a baby on exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

We came upon this antique high chair in the exhibit. Rick was puzzled at first about the wooden shield around the front, what loving parent would imprison their child in a chair casket? Whereas it made perfect sense to me; This chair served as a babysitter. This chair kept the baby safe and occupied while the mistress of the house prepared food and performed other household chores from scratch. After all, all goods had to be grown or collected, prepared on a fire or maybe a gas stove and then cleaned in a scullery. Looking at Mezzacello of the past through a modern lens is folly. Mezzacello existed squarely before the modern era; it was built 151 years ago.

This being Father’s Day, I was prompted to ask my favorite dad about the time he spent feeding babies. Was it a chore? How much time did he spend feeding four babies in high chairs? We apparently have completely different perspectives on this topic. He was appalled. He loved his time spent feeding the boys. After I apologized we started talking about cooking and providing food as a poor minister with a wife and four children. He reminded me that when times were lean, the community came together with a potluck. Everybody helped cook and prepare food – and watch the kids – and everybody ate.

Anybody who knows me knows how Rick spoils me with great food. I cannot cook. I suck at it. Rick is an inspired chef; probably all those meals he cooked for the community. So Rick prepares food for his big goofy kid (me) and my crazy dietary restrictions. But we have discovered that I am very good at growing food – and I can afford to buy the exotic ingredients my world class seasoned dad can use to make great food.

Lastly on this Father’s Day tribute to Rick, I want to talk about how that early daddy training he got in the church continues to pay off today. We have a group of #WorldClass foodie friends who love to get together and cook a fantastic dinner, usually around a theme, and I show up and eat! Seriously if you get an invite to a Sunday Funday take it! Let my favorite dad and our friends cook for you. And it won’t take all day nor will anyone have to sit in the high chair, I promise.

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