After it was gone I tried to find a picture of it, but I couldn’t locate one.
I could find lots of photographs that it appeared in, but none where it was the focus. This piece of furniture that three generations of families have gathered around. The chairs that have been reglued, and reglued, and reglued. The sixth chair that was broken during a too-rowdy weekend. The chair that he draped a damp towel over the back of and its telling water marks. This table and chair set that bears nearly fifty years of stains and scars, each carrying with it its own story.
It owes us nothing.
This piece of furniture that pulls us in.
When I was growing up it was our eat-in kitchen table in Powell, Ohio. The formal dining room set was reserved for things like Christmas and Easter, so this dining set was where we ate our family dinners most nights of the week.
Homework and meals. Art projects and coffee.
Place settings ranging over the years from paper plates, to my mom’s everyday Poppies on Blue pattern, to my grandmother’s china.
Candles blown out and prayers said. Weekday spaghetti dinners and summer chicken grilled Sundays after church.
Just a piece of furniture? Or a constant? Something we can return to. Something that is there for us to gather around to celebrate the good and try to make sense of the bad.
It has traveled with Levi and I from Columbus, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, to Brentwood, Missouri, to Springfield, Illinois, to Aberdeen, South Dakota, and back to Ohio again.
We didn’t believe the chairs could take anymore glue. They wobbled and creaked with a simple slide in and slide out.
We needed a new set. Something sturdy. Something that we can hopefully have around for another three generations. So when there was a family selling a formal dining room set we saw it as an opportunity. We could replace our current kitchen table and chairs, and whenever we get a house, we can move the new set into the formal dining room.
“Give it to someone who needs it,” my grandma and mom both said of the old set.
I did not go with Levi on the farewell drop for the old table and chairs to our local Goodwill. Yes, it is just a piece of furniture. An inanimate object. But it was ours. My grandparents, my parents, and then mine and Levi’s. It is where decades of birthday parties and family meals occurred. Where bewildering math problems and seemingly unsolvable life problems both found solutions. It was an inanimate object, that fostered generations of life and living.
In honor of this girl’s wedding approaching this week!