On Giants' Shoulders

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If That Table Could Talk

Today I was cleaning off the table in my kitchen in preparation for a session of candy making. As I scrubbed it to get the newspaper that was stuck on from my dd's baking session last night, I thought about this particular table. It has seen a lot of baking sessions through the years. This table was in the kitchen of the house I lived in as a 4 year old helping my mother make Christmas cookies. It was the table I made my first cake on. It was the table I made my first batch of raised doughnuts on. It was the table we ate supper on when I was in high school (but not breakfast or lunch- that was in the kitchen). I did a lot of my early sewing on this table. It moved to an apartment in Tunbridge with me and I served dinner to guests on it. It moved to a trailer when we were first married. I sewed on it again, my babies took baths in an enamel bath tub set on it, we ate on it, one child had to be constantly restrained from climbing on it. I made loaves of bread and the kids learned to twist pretzels on it. For a long time it was upstairs in our house. It held a drum carder for awhile and a computer for awhile. Now it's back in the kitchen and has become a place to roll out pie crusts, make bread, cool cookies, and form peanut clusters.

If the table could talk it could tell many a tale (some of which I'd just as soon censor, thank you very much!). It's a constant that links a lot of different homes together. It's not a very pretty table anymore. It's got scars, burn marks, and it wobbles a bit. The leaves that used to go in it to allow for more diners got lost somewhere along its travels. Consequently it rarely serves as an eating table except when we use it to extend our dining table. It never was a fine dining table, it's always been more ordinary than that. We always had another table that we used for big meals when I was growing up. It was round with claw legs. This table is just a plain rectangular table with 4 straight legs. It's never been anything special.

Sometimes I feel like that table. I too am pretty ordinary. In the course of the years I've gotten pretty beat up looking too. I've got scars on my face from falling down stairs. I've got stretch marks and sagging skin. My hair is getting grayer and there's not as much of it. Like the table, there are lots of memories, but I'm still functional as well. Unlike the table I hope I've grown in grace and wisdom, however. Sometimes it would be nice to have a spanking new table, just like sometimes it seems like it would be nice to be a brand new adult. However, a new table would have none of the memories attached to it, and I wouldn't really want to go back and do my twenties over again (at least not unless I could take the accumulated wisdom with me on the journey).

There isn't a whole lot in my house that dates back to my childhood. Even most of our older furniture comes from a different time and place. The table is really the one piece that has been there through it all. It's seen me from a pre-schooler to now. So no matter how beat up it looks, no matter that some people think it should be thrown out or replaced, I sort of like having it around. It reminds me that I too still connect back to that 4 year old who put silver balls on the bellshaped cookies while listening to the radio to see if Santa Claus read her letter on the air. Madeleine L'Engle once said that she was all the Madeleine's of her life, not just the older adult she was then. This table reminds me that I'm still all the me's of my life as well, just as the table is the same table, just more beat up than it was 50 + years ago.

Now if I can just get someone to tighten its legs up, it might last another 50 years.


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

that was cool:)

very cool :)

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Karen E. said...

I'd love to see that table someday. :)


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