I read an article in Meridian Magazine today and it said, “The kitchen table in our home is a special place. Although the table is but a physical object, it is the Spirit in my mother's heart that makes it sacred.” This article reminded me of the kitchen tables in my own life.
Our first kitchen table was given to us as a gift from my husband’s parents. It was sturdy and withstood the daily pounding of three children and their friends for nearly 25 years. That was the time when honey colored oak was the preferable wood in home décor, along with country blue, mauve, ducks on your wallpaper and matching ceramic kitchen canisters – yes it was the height of home décor in the 80’s. I crawled under it one day, just before we moved, to discover the entire bottom of it was covered with children’s artwork . . . all done in permanent magic marker! The kids held their breath and thought they were going to be in trouble, but I loved what I saw. The names of their cousins and signatures were there as well. We still have that first table, and it will soon be covered with a beautiful pink woven ribbon tablecloth, to hold our last daughter’s wedding cake at her reception. I will never be able to part with it or the memories it holds.
When we moved to our new home 5 years ago, our family had grown and we needed more space so that everyone could sit at the same table. It became my quest to find the perfect square table for the kitchen nook. None of the new tables had the feeling and spirit I was looking for. One day I drove past an antique store in Salt Lake City and it seemed my car just turned into the small parking lot on its own. I wasn’t even shopping for a table that day. I walked into a very large warehouse filled to the brim with the most amazing antiques I had ever seen. There were so many rooms and floors I worried I might get lost! As I walked into a new room, there it was, the table of my dreams – and yes it was oak. Not the oak of the 80’s, but rather quarter-sawn oak from the old country that had the patina to show its beauty and age. I asked the price and swallowed my tongue, but there was so question, I HAD to have that table.
I put it on layaway, and made monthly payments on it for a year, thank goodness the economy hadn’t quite hit us yet. I made the last payment just about the time the bottom fell out of the economy and my husband’s commission checks stopped abruptly. When I confessed that I had been paying on a table for over a year, he was a little upset with me, however, when the table was delivered, all was forgiven. Even through the hard times of the past four years, he has said to me many times, “I Love That Table! I’m so glad you got it!” It truly is the heart of our home. It’s as if it were built specifically for the place where it sits.
We have enjoyed many meals with family and friends at this table. The thick turned legs are strong and sturdy, the top is magic as it folds out at both ends to accommodate all of our family members, and then folds back to the perfect size for daily use. My husband sits there each morning for his daily scripture study; we play games there together – sometimes just the two of us. I can’t help but wonder the stories that old table could tell if it could talk. I have even imagined that quite possibly, the owners could have been some of our ancestors from England who sold it to make their way here to the Salt Lake Valley. I imagine a faithful wife and mother wiping it down for the last time as it was taken away, the broom set in the corner, and she walks with her family boarding the ship “Horizon” to make the long voyage, and begin a new life here in America.
I have learned through the years that temporal things can also be spiritual things, and I believe that kitchen tables fit this category. With Mother’s Day on Sunday, my hope and wish is that you take the time to sit at your mother’s kitchen table, or your own kitchen table, and reflect on the blessings of mothers, family, friends and a place to renew lifelong relationships – the kitchen table.
Until next time,