When we moved to Escondido 23 years ago, our house came with a dining room table — a giant, heavy, slightly beat-up dining room table. The owners were moving to Hawaii and didn’t want to lug the table with them across the ocean, so they left it for us. Now, 23 years later, that giant, much more beat-up table sits in our dining room in Oregon.
Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t gotten a new one. This one is kind of a wreck. I know that farmhouse rustic is in, but this table goes just a bit beyond that. I have tried to make it look presentable, but I can’t seem to clean off the red paint marks that were added when Lauren was making Christmas ornaments one year. I think there’s some white on there too. And I’ve tried to chip away at the spots that look like food but are actually glue from the glue gun that Noah used when he was working on his robot -- but when I chip away at it, the varnish comes off too. So I tried a black marker to make the missing varnish less noticeable, but it didn’t quite have the effect I’d hoped for. I just looks like black marker. And then there’s a gouge at one end where Joshua was working on some project with Jesse that involved an axe. I tried to fill in the gouge, but the filler keeps rubbing off. And the varnish in the grooves is pretty much gone from when Mark used a steak knife to get the food out. Also, one of the legs has teeth marks from when Jake was a puppy and thought the table leg was a chew toy. Thankfully you can’t really see that unless you look down. And every morning as I’m eating my breakfast, I have to push in one end of the table since it hangs down a little, maybe from all of the elbows-on-the-table conversations we have had over the years.
Yeah...it’s kind of a wreck. Maybe I should get a new one. My sister and brothers will be visiting for Thanksgiving and I want everything to be nice for them.
But I can see our family dinners and our kids doing their homework at this table. And I can see my mom sitting at the table setting up her appetizers for our "March birthday" get together.s I see the large holiday dinners where everyone could fit (thanks to two also-very-heavy leafs that made a giant table even bigger), and the smaller dinners with our Japanese exchange student or guests from England or friends or co-workers. I can see the long conversations Mark and I had about the kids, or his company closing or us moving to Oregon. A lot of life happened at this table. And it shows. How could I possibly replace it?
So in a few weeks, my siblings and I will gather around the table, eat lots of good food, drink lots of good wine, laugh ourselves silly, celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday, and continue to make memories. And they won’t care about the paint and the glue and the gouges. They will just be glad that we are sitting around a table together. And we will count our blessings — one of which will be that 23 years ago, this beat-up old table was left behind.
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife /English teacher and lavender farmer located in Dundee, Oregon.