I believe the kitchen is the heart of a home and the dining table is the centre of gravity for all who live in it. That table and chairs aren’t just furniture. They create a sacred space to share a meal, tell tales of the day, solve life’s conundrums and connect in real time. At least, that’s how I visualized it when the Carpenter and I started our family.
We couldn’t afford good furniture when we were starting out. Actually, we still can’t. Most of what we own is family hand-me-downs or leftovers from friends, but there is one solid piece of furniture that has significant meaning to me: a barnboard turned leg harvest table, with a honey-coloured stained top and dark walnut for the base, and four matching chairs. Think rustic farmhouse long before I believed I would live in one.
It didn’t really blend with our aesthetic, but that table made us feel grown-up. It was ours. We were two young parents scraping by, and at the end of the school and work day, when dinner was chicken fingers, microwaved frozen vegetables and scalloped potatoes from a box (no lie, it often still is), that table was more than a surface.
Then sports practices, theatre rehearsals, homework and over-time slowly seeped into the routine and dinners together were eaten more often in the car than they were on that magnificent table.
Bad habits took hold and it’s holding firm. Our beautiful dining table has become less household gravity, more maelstrom. It’s solid legs now bear the weight as a placeholder for all the stuff nobody wants to take responsibility for actually putting away.
In my defence, I often drop my purse there, my phone, or my glasses, but as someone who requires order, I confidently declare that the bulk of haphazard materials left on the table are not mine. Yet, I’m somehow always sorting it out (this will be debated at the table during our next general clearing, but I am writing this, so my housemates can’t argue).
As I write this, my harvest table looks like a garage sale threw up everywhere. There 42 batteries of various sizes strewn about, some stuffed into vessels of decor, like glass votives and baskets intended for display purposes only.
There is a bag of plastic recycling, because I’m guessing the blue box five feet away is just too much of a walk. Countless reusable shopping bags have given up hope in a pile. Unused garbage bags have mysteriously left their boxed home under the counter and joined the resistance.
Clean dishes are stacked there, literally in the same room as the cupboards in which there is space to store them. Clean, folded tea towels can’t open the drawer themselves. The random laundered sock is throwing me off, though. I have no idea why there is a tape gun loaded on the table, but it feels like a weapon.
Three weeks worth of mail flyers are spread out like wallpaper. Pretty sure the wrench and wire cutters have a tool box. Random paper lists that nobody ever takes with them, despite that being the purpose of the lists.
A big bottle of headache pills. Okay, I get that. Is that a Christmas ornament? No, it’s two. Ugh.
I’m sure you can’t relate. I bet your table is beautiful, clear and welcoming. Well done.