After my grandfather passed away, his children did the usual — cleaned out the house, divvied up many of his belongings and sold the rest in an estate sale. They split boxes of old photographs, the documentation of a life filled with family vacations, Christmas parties, horse racing, LSU alumni events and other charmed gatherings.
I recently gathered my dad’s share of the pictures and sent them to YesVideo for preservation. It was fun going through them before I sent them off. So many of them were very Mad Men-esque. The ladies with their perfectly coiffed bouffants and Jackie O. shift dresses. The men with their side-slicked hair. The decor in shades of brown, mustard and olive.
My grandparents’ dining room table was the center of many of these pictures. No surprise, since it was the center of most of our family gatherings. I can’t possibly count how many birthday and holiday gatherings we had around that table. Everyone sat in “their” seat every time, and the table settings, the decor and even the menu served rarely changed. For me, the table was always associated with comforting consistency and happy occasions.
When it came time to settle the estate, however, no one in the family wanted the table. I was shocked. It’s a very high quality dining set, with a look that makes it at home in either a traditional or modern setting. But it’s big, too big to fit in many people’s homes. And everyone was seemingly content with the dining room furniture they already had.
There was no way I was going to let that table leave the family, though. No. Freaking. Way. That’s why I’m sitting at it as I type this post.
Remember how I’ve been thinking a lot about consumption? I’ve wanted to be more aware of what I eat, and how, when and why I eat it. So one of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook for my family more often. I’m pleased to say I’m sticking to that resolution very well. I’m typically a terrible cook, but I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, practicing, screwing up, testing new recipes, practicing some more.
Sometimes the results are appreciated.
Sometimes, not so much.
While Nick and I are enjoying the fruits of my labors, the kids aren’t as enthused. They’re not adventurous foodies. But regardless of how anyone feels about my recipes, we’re all benefitting from spending time around the table most evenings. We talk about our day, plan for the next, giggle over knock knock jokes, critique the singers on American Idol, and critique my cooking.
That table may have been a place for special occasions in my grandparents’ house, but for us, it’s an everyday gathering place. It’s where homework gets done, breakfast gets eaten while still half-asleep, mail gets dumped and even where tights get hung to dry. I often glance at it and see the aftermath of dinner and craft projects, and get annoyed by the crumbs and glitter.
Ultimately, though, I love that they’re there. Every groove and grain of that table contains the detritus of a family’s memories.The table has survived a lot. My dad and his brothers, for one. A fire that destroyed my grandparents’ house back in 2001, for another. I figure if it made it through that, it can handle my kids.
And hopefully, it can survive their kids, too. Because if I have my way, it will never leave our family!Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by YesVideo, a fantastic photo and video preservation service. I am compensated for my work with YesVideo. All thoughts and opinions are my own.