The table came to our home from another’s – a second hand treasure Mom found in a newspaper ad. It was the perfect fit for our kitchen and our lives. It sat in the front window where passersby could see the activities around it day and night.
I could write an entire book recounting memories around the table. Last meals, first meetings, school lessons, days-long board games, hard conversations, and celebratory moments. It was the spot where Grandma would drop her behemoth purse and five grocery bags when she sat down to slice fresh apples. There were several more comfortable spaces in the home for spending long periods of time, but the kitchen table always seemed to draw people.
So many descriptors could be used when explaining the table’s guests: felon, homeless, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, anarchist, Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Christian – often they gathered at the same time. Descriptors are helpful when discussing the diversity of thoughts perspectives that were present, but honestly at the time, they were simply people who mattered to us. We spent hours talking around the table, debating and discussing everything under the sun. We never seemed to run out of space on those benches.
The table kept watch in the window for years after most of us left the house. A memorial to what once was. It got a facelift – some sanding and staining to make it more modern, but the grooves and nicks of previous life were still visible to the keen eye.
Last week the table was delivered to my apartment. It is not the ideal size or shape for my small dining space, but this is where it belongs for now. The table is ready for new memories and new people. The next generation of kids in our family will climb on the benches and hear stories of the dog who is the reason a chunk is missing from one of the legs. They’ll sit and learn to shout “Yahtzee!” when they get a lucky roll of the dice. My friends will gather for long talks over meals. We’ll solve the world’s problems or just laugh at ridiculous things. I’ll assemble puzzles and gaze out the window with a cup of coffee in the mornings. Life happens around a table. Messy, glorious life.
One day the table will be in a bigger room. After all, there must always be space for one more.