My mom was in town last night. Just quickly, there was a transport from Delaware County Prison to Muncie State and she took the job so she could have dinner with us. It was Tuesday, which means Cut up Stuff for dinner. Strawberries, carrots, apples, blueberries, oranges, grapes, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, hummus, and crackers. It's my favorite dinner, and a great way to clean out the fridge.
She's a deputy sheriff. That's probably important to the story, that's why she was transporting and prison hopping.
Even though I'm not sure why someone from Erie would have to drive seven hours to Delco, pick a bad guy up and drive them 3 or so hours upstate, and then the 4 hours back home from Muncy. That's your tax dollars working for you but whatever.
Anyway, my mom was in town last night and she brought me the farmhouse table. Her grandmother's dining room table from the farmhouse. It's big and round and oak and complicated to put together and she can't find the slat insert leaf embiggener things but that's okay. They probably got lost in one of our billions of moves while I was growing up.
And now I have a dinner table that isn't from Ikea.
Officially an adult.
May 8th, 2012.
We were using the Grimaldi table in the dining room lately. That was passed down to my parents from one of their friend's moms (Mrs. Grimaldi) and I'm sad to throw that out because there has been a lot of dinners eaten on that thing. I'm guessing at least fifty years worth of dinners. Which pales to the one hundred and fifty so years worth of dinners on the farmhouse table but it's pretty substantial. My brother had the Grimaldi table for a few years in college. I had something else less sentimental that I begged off my mom but it turned out I didn't want it because it reminded me of a few years worth of dinners that weren't so great so I traded Brian the bad table for the Grimaldi Table and all was well in the world. Sometimes it was a dining room table, sometimes a kitchen table, sometimes a laundry table, but always something in my house. And now it's trash. But not today, because the trash trucks came while I was still in my underpants and there was a mad scramble to get the regular garbage out the door without offending the neighbors by showing them that my underwear might not be the newest things I own because I have reached a certain point in my life where underwear isn't a purchase priority and it's sometimes a little bit traumatic to buy so I make do with what I have and the table was forgotten in the chaos.
The big dining room table, the rectangle one from Ikea, was moved to the kitchen in September so it could be a homework table because it is more desk-like than the drop leaf round Grimaldi table. That one is still a keeper, even though it has surpassed its five-year life-expectancy that comes with Ikea stuff. People complained at our big holiday party in December that the Grimaldi table wasn't big enough to fit around but no one was really willing to get off their asses to switch the tables so that was that, and it will never be a problem again. And Jake still gets his homework spot.
There are chairs too, at my moms house, that go with the table. She will be bringing those down this summer, or if I go up there I'll load them in the car and get them home that way. Although my Ikea chairs look okay with the table so it's not a big deal. I'm no less of an adult because I have Ikea chairs around the farmhouse table.
This probably all sounds like a bunch of nonsense, but tables are important to me. Everything happens around the table. Everything good and bad and easy and hard. Business deals are struck and paperwork is signed and friends gather and family unites. Important life decisions are made with stiff drinks in front of us and elbows propping up heads while we chose our words carefully. Or not so carefully, depending on the height of our moods. We laugh about things we've done while we lean away from the table, wrists at the edge while we play with a fork, our napkins, our drinks that aren't so stiff. We talk about our days, the stuff that will only matter for minutes but serves for Family Bonding and Teachable Moments and Collective Remembering. We feed our bodies and our hearts. All over the table. All over the years. All over the planks of wood that used to be a living growing tree but has been repurposed for something no less important, no less useful. Alive in a different way.
You can't really say that about the couch. They don't tend to last so long.
But couches are soft, and tables and chairs tend to be made of wood, and sometimes it isn't comfortable to sit on wood for so long and sometimes you don't have the luxury of a dining room apart from your kitchen and your kitchen is where you keep the bulk of the household garbage and when you think of it like that, it's a little weird to invite the people you love best to sit on something with no cushioning, next to your potato peels and used kleenex and dirty bandaids and discarded papertowels and browning applecores and the other nasty stuff you don't want anywhere else in your home so maybe the couch has merit after all. Plus it holds you when you fall asleep at 8.30 because you weren't tired enough to go to bed but too tired to sit up straight. Sleeping at the table is frowned upon. It makes you look like a degenerate. Unless you are under the age of three. Then it makes for a good photo op.