About, Musings on Life

The History of Our Kitchen Table

I am not one who takes great stock in physical possessions. I am sure if we had to get rid of our kitchen table I would do so willingly. I just have come over the years to feel that this table is a part of me. I wanted to share the story of a table and the many memories and dinners that have taken place on it.

My kitchen table came to be mine in the fall of 2010. I was in my final year of college and was living off campus, a few minutes walk away. My roommate had done the hard work of finding a place and I had agreed sight unseen. I arrived early, before school started and I had no furniture and no car. I had assumed the shuttle from my college to town would be running, but that had not been the case. I had brought a sleeping bag and planned to sleep on it and live without furniture. I realize now how stubborn and silly that sounded. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do it all on my own. My dad came up a few weeks into me living there, and had taken me to get real furniture. A small blue kids twin bed, lawn chairs and a butterfly chair from an estate sale, and the kitchen table. We found it at a small hipster consignment store. I am not sure back then I would have called it hipster, because I do not think that was a word I used. We passed it and it stood out, how could it not with the bright teal pattern on the top. My dad pointed it out and I loved it. It was the most expensive thing we bought for the apartment at $175.00. I loved it though. It felt unique and mine.

After that year was done, I left most of the furniture in the apartment, with the exception of the table. I removed the legs and wrapped it in boxes, taping the legs underneath. I then shipped it from Oregon to Connecticut. It stayed wrapped up there until we moved to Florida. We put it in the U-Haul and drove it down. When we unwrapped it, I noticed the tape and removed some of the fake wood bottom. I felt frustrated seeing it for what it was, not real wood. I am not sure who I was kidding, it was too light to be made out of wood, but I didn’t know that at the time. I was more snobby than I am now and I felt lied to and deceived. Although I do not remember it, I am sure I tried to get rid of it and replace it with something new and better, but we never did. It was small and fitting four people around it was a squeeze, but we kept it.

It was the table that we had our first guests over to dinner at. We had spent a day at the beach with another couple. We then came home, and got cleaned up. I cooked a roasted chicken with gravy, a salad and mashed potatoes. I hung out with the wife while my husband and her husband chatted elsewhere. I remember just doing what I had always done, and it worked. The chicken was delicious and I had fun spending time with a couple. I knew them so well that I wasn’t afraid if it did not work out. I did not have a back up plan but I didn’t mind.

A few years later, we moved to Iowa and the table came with us. Our apartment was smaller than our house in Florida, but the kitchen table fit right in. The plastic cover ripped while there, and I had placed a hot pan on it and melted the plastic in some places. This was the table where we started hosting Thanksgiving dinner, first with just my mom and the next year with my dad and sister. I found it comforting to be around my own table with food that I loved gathering family. I genuinely love cooking and I find Thanksgiving to be a holiday that I enjoy more than I ever thought, the hardest part for me is the turkey and gravy. Usually I make all the pies and some of the sides in advance so I assume if everything is wrong the day of no one could possibly starve. I almost always make at least 4 pies no matter the amount of people. Two pecan, one apple and one pumpkin. I feel like Thanksgiving is the pie holiday and there is no better time to celebrate. Each year I test new things, and cook many things that are tried and true. I am even learning what to do with the leftover turkey. This table was the location where that all happened. On my second Thanksgiving, we found that if we moved the table away from the wall everyone could fit comfortably. In spite of disaster/poor planning about the turkey, everything worked out.

I know for a fact that in Iowa we tried to get rid of the table, I felt it was too broken and I did not want it to get further damaged. I thought we should toss it and move on. Andy suggested instead we try and fix it. I assumed this would be a last ditch effort because there were areas where the fabric had ripped exposing the fake wood underneath. This was part of my efforts to fix all our furniture before we moved. Yes, for some reason even though we were filled with the emotion of moving and all the details, I felt adding to the burden would help. Some of the things I am glad we did, because I was kept busy enough to stop from completely falling apart. The table was on that list. We went to JoAnn’s and bought a new vinyl sheet to cover the top. We bought an industrial stapler to attach it with and I stood back. I have learned that when it comes to furniture and building, my hovering and making suggestions is not actually helpful. I trust Andy completely with those tasks. I know he can do them and this ended up more wonderful than I could have imagined. He creatively placed the fabric so you could not see the hole unless you were looking for it and replaced the vinyl. At this moment I knew the kitchen table was here to stay, it might not always be our kitchen table, but it can be easily recovered and in an odd way it reminds me of where I have been and where I came from.

The kitchen table works perfectly here in New Hampshire. It feels like it was meant to be here. After a week of waiting for our furniture to come and eating off of plastic crates, sitting at a real table is special. This table has come with us and probably will be with us for the long haul. I have grown to have some sentimental attachment to it, and like I stated before I would get rid of it if absolutely necessary, but I do not want to in this moment. I feel like it is a small piece of me.

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