Enjoy this short story of family memories, written by Jenny Ralston.
Family Memories – The Family Table
Last night I dusted our dining room table. In the overall scheme of things it is a great table. It does just what a dining table is supposed to do -- allow one to dine. But as I looked at that table I wanted to raise my arms and shout, "HOORAY" because that particular table has done much, much more.
If I bow down and hold my head "just so" I can see indentations of written homework. Sometimes I can catch a full word, but more often there are only curves and lines that reflect back to me. And so, I realize this table has had a hand, so to speak, in the education of three children. It has encouraged two college graduates and is well on its way to being able to add number three to its list. When you consider that the grandchildren are now zipping into our lives (a phrase that would probably not be used to describe the delivery process by those directly involved, by the way) I think the old table should take a deep breath and prepare to be involved in another generation's knowledge absorption. Math and English and history have been mastered, not to mention castles built, clocks assembled, balloons sucked into jars, and so on. The list is virtually endless.
There are also fine, evenly spaced pock marks. To the untrained eye these peculiar markings might be unrecognizable. But any seamstress would immediately discern the trail of a tracing wheel. How many items of clothing began as a length of fabric laid on the table? Frilly little dresses, prom dresses, suit coats, pants, pajamas, shorts. Throw in curtains, pillows, purses. . . and the equation is compounded to an endless number!
On one front corner, if an oval table can have a corner, is a little glob. This stands as tribute to the staying power of Super Glue. Not only does that magic goop stick your forefinger to your thumb, it also dries into an unremovable mound. Alcohol, nail polish remover, paint thinner -- nothing disturbs Super Glue, and the table is proof positive of that!
A family has been held together financially by money decisions made at our old friend. Sometimes there was no problem . . . just a routine time of paying the bills. Sometimes, though, elbows rested on the table and the upraised hands held a worried head. Often time the "rob Peter to pay Paul" method was employed, but thankfully the end results have been good. The wolf has had his bags packed and our address tucked in his coat pocket several times, but the processes of plus, minus, and division pulled together at the table and protected us.
The most powerful thing about the table is something unseen. It is an aura of worship. The shadow of hands joined in prayer, heads bowed. Unseen, yet still there. What more could a table need than to be a place where a family comes together and offers thanks to the Creator?
And so, with this in mind, I'm going to dust with more care, more appreciation. Furniture may not have feelings, but it certainly does evoke feelings, and memories, and thankfulness. An amazing list. Amazing!
Please pass the fruit!