Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Here is our dining room table getting spruced up for fall. The tablecloth was an urgent necessity, which is why I didn't take the time to iron it. If you believe that, you are obviously new here. You see, something happened to the table. Well, I realize you actually don't see, because while I am willing to tell you what happened, I am not quite ready to show anyone. 

The lighting in our dining room makes our succulents happy, which in turn makes me happy. I am in charge of keeping a great number of my daughter's plants alive while she is away at school. Due to her nature as a collector, this has become quite a collection, and outgrew the little bench there in front of the window. The next logical place to put the overflow was on the dining room table, thoughtfully displayed on a runner. I sure do like for the dining room table to be a feature player at holiday time, even more than I liked it to be a dumping ground for every odd and end that had no other home when the kids were small. I carried the plants that were going to impede my decor flinging progress to another sunny location, and set about making autumn happen.

Then I remembered that I have a more fall friendly runner for the table. Just a quick flick of the wrist to take that other runner off the table, and...oh no...oh no, no, no! So much water damage. For all of the times I watered the plants, wondering if any water was seeping out or if the runner was an effective barrier, perhaps I should have actually checked. This was not one of those stupid mistakes that happens quickly while you try to feverishly back peddle, no, this took time. I immediately called my mother. I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe I thought I needed someone to share my shame with me. I kept telling her "as bad as you think the damage is, I assure you it is ten times worse". I could not bring myself to send her a photo either. She let me confess and carry on until the panic left my voice and I had successfully found my bin of tablecloths.

I have had a few hours to sit with what happened, and have several thoughts trying to steal the limelight as the major theme. Obviously, this whole incident goes to show why I cannot have nice things. When I was first married and living in our first home, on two occasions my grandmother gave me fragile sentimental items, and both times they broke at my clumsy hands. Neither piece held a special place for me as she dug them out of some depth I was unaware of, which was good I suppose, but each meant something to my grandmother, which I suppose made it worse to know I couldn't keep them safe. It was almost as though these relics had been removed from her house before their time, as if they were not intended to exist out of her care. When my grandparents' house was beng emptied after it sold, I was so leary of taking anything needing bubble wrap, certain that I'd be sweeping shattered pieces off the floor in no time. As if the procelain knew it was time to go, it has held up strong on my shelves.

Truth be told? I do not remember this furniture as it existed in my great-grandparents' dining room, not how it was situated nor what was behind the glass doors of the hutch. I suspect there was often a tablecloth draped over the table protecting it for several years. The pieces are still sentimental to me though as I remember the people who owned them. (I wrote a post about an adventure with the set years ago here, and one about the chairs themselves more recently here.)  Every time I would put a leaf in the table, I admired how well my grandfather refinished them, while feeing a little pang of guilt over the wear the rest of the table had taken with little dings here and there. Now I've really done it though. I keep reminding myself that it was never about having this set in pristine condition, nor whether it was the most practical look and feel for its space. I staked my claim on this furniture so many years ago, when my great-grandparents' house was being cleared out, before I even knew who I would share its eventual home with. It has lived another life with us as a place to gather, and much like the indentations in the kitchen table where names were printed with small, yet heavy hands, it shows. 

It's funny - I get these ideas sometimes that just keep running in loops around my mind. It is almost like an earworm, in how they say the best way to get rid of one is to sing or listen to the song in its entirety. I have to tell the tale, figure out the story, where it starts and ends. I am not always completely satisfied with the result or convinced that I got to the point, but can move on. Thank you for being here!

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