My mother loved antique shopping and bought this Shaker table when I was a kid.
While I was growing up, we ate most of our meals here, and when I moved into my first apartment she shipped it out to me.
This little table has since followed me to many residences, and now sits in our breakfast nook. The breakfast nook is actually part of a long family room divided into two parts by a couch facing a media console, where the kids watch TV and play Wii. So on Sundays when I’m drinking my morning coffee and reading The New York Times, I look up from the table at my daughter and stepson and sometimes a little friend who has spent the night and I breathe deep and feel that for that moment, all is right in my world.
I love this table. I love the swirl of the wood grain, the scratches and knicks from years of being the depository for dinner plates, homework, and art projects. I love the history of it, the memories of the conversations and special occasions celebrated around it.
The table top is actually secured to the base by pegs. “Secured” is a bit of an oxymoron because the pegs always fall through the holes and get lost. For years I would go to hardware stores and have them cut new pegs, which I would take home and place in the holes sawed into the table base. But inevitably the pegs would fall out and disappear and finally I just gave up and now the top is only held down by one peg.
We all know we can’t lean our elbows on the table, but unsuspecting guests not educated in its precariousness can send the their food flying into the air if they lean too enthusiastically against it.
My family eats most of our meals here. When we have parties, or when all six of us are gathered for dinner (rare, with one kid in college and another one in boarding school), we eat at the other table I grew up with, the long wooden, slightly warped-at-the-corners Mexican table in the dining room. But that’s a story for another blog post.
Today, I’m thankful for my mother’s Shaker table.