The Table Where Rich People Sit*

I just spent a few minutes trying out some Restor A Finish on my dining room table, which got a little sun damaged when it was outside during the loor refinishing, and it reminded me of how much I love that table, how lucky we were to find it when we lived in Nebraska.  We’d moved there with this tiny pine IKEA table and we could never have anyone over for dinner, and then we’d had to rent furniture for Thanksgiving, so we’d started looking around for bigger dining room tables and we’d come up short, in fact I can remember one very dramatic fight when my parents wanted to buy me a table they thought was perfect and I refused it because I didn’t like it.  I can remember being SO angry that they were angry at me for not wanting something they wanted to force on me, and they were so angry that I didn’t want the table they had picked out.  Poor Erik.

We looked at a bunch of awful furniture stores, the kind where you walk in and laugh at some of the bedroom displays they have set up, all gold brocade and giant pillows and tassels, and we couldn’t find anything.  We looked all over.  We looked at Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn and all those types of stores too, but we couldn’t afford anything there, and I didn’t like how you couldn’t even tell what wood they were made of, if they were even made of wood.  No IKEA in Nebraska, either.

Finally one day we ventured to this row of antique shops a little off the beaten path in Lincoln  (man do I miss the antique stores in Nebraska), and wandered around there was the perfect table, marked down, I think. $400 and just what I wanted, and solid oak, the kind where you could tell immediately what it was made of.  And I was adamant that no table of mine was going to have drop sides because I still have PTSD from the dining room table of my childhood, the kids sat on the ends, and if your leg slid the wrong way your dinner would end up in your lap and you’d get screamed at for it.  This table had three leaves that you could add so it could seat 12, the saleslady asked the two of us, barely out of college “Do you have a large family?” and we just laughed.   We really didn’t have $400, but Erik looked at me and shrugged and said “Well, this is sort of what they make credit cards for” and we bought it, and I’ve never regretted it.

This dining room table is the piece of furniture I hope I have forever, that I want to hand down to my kids. I love that you can see where they did art projects and learned to eat solid food, as though there’s a record of our family etched right there in the wood, and some day we’ll have giant family Thanksgivings around that table and laugh about the spots where Katie did her algebra homework or Eli tried to carve a jewel into it with a screwdriver, and I hope that this table is what links the two of us, the once upon a long time ago us, just kids, to our someday grandchildren and their children and on and on after that, long after we’re no longer here.

*Have you ever read this book? Not sure if it’s a great kids book, but it appeals highly to my hippy leftist sensibilities.

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6 Responses

  1. This is beautiful… I love when furniture and objects in a home are well-loved and full of stories. And I love antiques, the stories already built in.

  2. Ha ha! I can just see a recreation of the Table Fight, 25 years from now, with the part of The Table The Parents Wanted To Buy played by The Heirloom Table!

    It’s gorgeous.

  3. Gorgeous. I love it. The table and the post.

  4. They read that story to the kids at our church. We are a very hippy leftist church. 🙂

  5. You know, Elizabeth, I just don’t write in enough to tell you how much I enjoy your writing – and this post is one of those that always has me thinking (and I say ‘always’ because it happens so often) that you are so gifted, that this is something you do so well: putting into words the feelings you have about the objects and people in your life. It puts weight to these things, and makes me feel connected to you in such a wonderful way.

    I hate how some of the best pieces of writing get far less comments, it’s this weird little quirk about good blog writing, I think, that the entries of introspection that have you nodding and wondering and mesmerized get sort of just nodded away, like Oh yeah, that was awesome – but I have nothing to say about it.

    So here’s what I have to say: beautiful. Just beautiful. (The table, also.)

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