THE TIMES TABLE (ms)

Despite my best efforts our home has not physically grown. Oh we’ve kept up with the inside just fine, done some work in the yard too but so far as the building itself, nothing much has changed. My wife is to blame for this of course for she is always quick to point out the modest income that streams into our bank and from there to various companies with their hands out waiting for the payment register to ring. Kaching. They’re happy; we’re still in the same house.

It isn’t all bad for a small home has its benefits: lower taxes, smaller heating bills, less to clean, difficult to get lost in, grandkids learn the place quickly and there are fewer places for them to hide. Still, there has always been a desire in me to knock out some walls and build an addition to our humble castle. This likely will never happen but I am content to go on imagining it will while living in the pleasant present.

In our home are pieces of furniture called heirlooms by antique dealers and in truth they are though the value outside our family is probably questionable; there is the dining room table for example.

Our house is not big enough for a formal dining room so we sit and eat in a room that is a dining room with a full view of the kitchen and otherwise serves in various ways the rest of the time. The table came to us a few years ago when my in-laws broke up their home. They owned it since the 1940’s so when it came to us it was already old but it was a comfortable old.

We gave the wood legs and sides a good cleaning and polishing but the top, now that was a different story. It’s metal, you see, and so if you are of a certain age you can guess what it looks like. The leaves pull out from underneath to double the space and there is room for four or five depending on the age and size.

I often imagine the stories it could tell if it could speak. How many Christmas Eve dinners had it held? How many late night talks had it listened to? How many long evenings supporting a youngster bent on learning to spell? Too many to imagine. My wife said she and her sister sat on one side, her brother opposite, her parents one to each end. The arrangement seldom varied and that is good for there is security in sameness, knowing that some things are predictable. No matter the time of year, the times of day, the good times or the bad times the table was there and folks just fit into their usual places.

We seldom eat at tables any longer. We eat standing up, watching television, between video games or texted conversations; the table is there as decoration or to hold the days mail or pile of schoolbooks, a purse or car keys. In a way, I guess, the table still speaks to the times.

—Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on April 29, 2012.

One Response to “THE TIMES TABLE (ms)”

  1. I have a feeling if dining room tables could talk, they would be holding lectures all across this country on the importance of their existence!

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