A couple of years ago, when we were visiting Josh's mom, I was walking around the house with her and she was just offering me furniture left and right. It was in a Someday kind of way. I think it started when I complimented the hall tree, and she said that maybe Someday, once we got settled, we could have it. Then later, it was a pair of bunk beds. You know, once we get settled. Once we had four children, apparently. It felt a little like a bribe.
Not that I have any problems with bribes, according to my new kitchen table.
Josh asked for this table when he was twelve years old. You know twelve year old boys, always wanting furniture. This was their family dining room table, where five little boys made suppertime messes and did their homework. It was made by a woodworking neighbor out of a humongous maple tree that used to grow on the old family land. There is a little gold plaque on the base, saying the name of the carpenter and the date. The table was made in 1989. My sweet Joshua was six years old.
Pretty sweet heirloom, right? I know! My advice to you ladies out there who like nice furniture: marry a first-born. His grandbaby-hungry parents will just throw furniture at you.
We picked up the new table using the band van, because a farmhouse table is one of the few things that will not go inside a Honda Fit. When we turned it over on its side to fit it throw the doorway, we discovered ancient food stains decorating the underside. Josh said, "You can see the marks from Andrew's high chair." Andrew, nearly seventeen years old and holding up one side of the table, looked a little embarrassed.
For now, my house has two tables. I bought my dinette set (table including a leaf, 6 chairs) at a yard sale more than ten years ago. I am a sucker for a vintage dinette set. This one came along at just the right time. I was just about to move into my first apartment, and I had no furniture. The yard sale was at a church, with assorted items spread out on a basketball court next to a picnic shelter. We got there early in the day, and the table and chairs was $30. I was all ready with my cash in hand, but my boyfriend told me to wait until the end of the day. We came back later and got it for $15, because I guess no one else in Connolly Springs appreciates vintage tables. The set was already a little world-weary from half a century of service, but a couple of years in my college apartment did it no favors. It seems like every time I change residences, the legs come off in the move. We ended up having to attach the legs to pieces of wood that we then reattached to the table. Even still, I wouldn't trust my weight on it.
The night we got the new table in the house, Josh laid himself right on top of it. Maple is strong.
Of course I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to my lovely dinette, rescued from the trash heap in a community where retro furniture is not as appreciated as it should be. I mean, you would be surprised if I did not mourn a crappy, barely-standing table. You would begin to seriously question my devotion to junk. But we already have a home for it, in the house of a friend who also does not let a couple of wobbly legs get in the way of appreciating something with a history. Being able to give something away, rather than merely getting rid of it, always soothes the pain of letting go.
Besides, I think it's getting to be time in my life where I could use a sturdy table. Buying secondhand does not mean all your belongings are junk. It means that you use what works until you find something better within your means - the continuous upgrade. I had a high school teacher who talked about every change in our lives as if it were a death. This is the death of my vintage dinette set self, the birth of my heirloom table self.
Surveying our downstairs this week, Josh remarked that he finally felt that the house was his. While I think the getting married probably had a little to do with it, I have to agree that his presence is more obvious. He went around pointing out all the things that came from him: a sarcophagus, an electric organ, and a great big table, the table from his childhood. I pointed out that all these things were half mine now.