Kitchen tables feed our soul, spirit, character

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Every Saturday morning I hand write a letter to my nephew, Andrew, who is a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. I have resisted sending him email, because I remember as a college student how important it was to see a letter in your mailbox every week. It was like a visit from home. As I started to pen the letter telling him about my North Carolina adventures, I began to contemplate the value of my kitchen table.

I bought it more than two decades ago from a Mennonite carpenter in Wisconsin, who assured me the oak table would last me a life time. When the movers brought the table into the house, they commented on the heavy piece of furniture. “I don’t think we’ve ever moved a heavier kitchen table. That’s one solid piece of furniture.”

My kitchen table is more than a place to serve food, pay bills, write letters. It’s truly an intricate part of my life.

 Everything I learned about politics I learned over a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies at the kitchen table. 

As a child, I thought presidents were elected just because of the discussions at my grandparents’ table. My family is evenly divided between republicans and democrats, and the voices raised in support or contempt for a certain politician would almost cause the roof to be raised.

Everything I learned from my grandmother I learned at the kitchen table. I can see her in my mind as clearly as if I just sat with her yesterday. Her jet black dyed hair with a blue tint was a reminder to us all that she never wanted to grow old. Yet, her advice to us remained consistent: “Just do your best, then you will have no regrets.”

As I grew up, every school project was created at the kitchen table. It is where I agonized over my Valentine’s Day box, science and algebra projects and fell in love with reading and writing. 

It is where my parents reviewed my report card. When my parents found need to discipline us, judgment came down at the kitchen table.

All the praise and admonishment I ever received from my family was delivered while my siblings and I were at the kitchen table. It’s where my parents quizzed us every night about school, events in our lives and current events. It’s where my father delivered his annual “summer rules” lecture. That’s a topic for another day.

Invitations to big events in my life, from birthday parties to graduations, were addressed at the kitchen table. Today, I write columns, pay bills, work on my computer and compose letters at my own kitchen table. I eat there, too.

When one thinks about it, kitchen tables seem to do a lot more than hold food. As an adult, I have come to realize my life took shape at the kitchen table.

It is where my brothers, sister and I left notes for mom or dad. Heaven forbid we’d leave the farm without leaving a note on the kitchen table right next to the cookie jar.

Neighbors stopping to visit would be ushered into the kitchen, welcomed with a cup of coffee and one of my mom’s homemade delights at the kitchen table. 

We explored seed catalogs at the kitchen table. Who could forget the hours my siblings and I spent dreaming and agonizing over the huge Sears Christmas Wish Book when it arrived. Nor will I forget my mom enjoying a cup of coffee while reading recipes from the latest issue of Taste of Home magazine.

It is where my brothers, sisters and I never-ending games of Scrabble, Uno, Risk, Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland and Monopoly.

It’s where my mother placed the cookie jar filled with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies which awaited us every day after school. 

The table is made for eating from and we come there prepared to be given something nutritious, to fill a need we have and to help us grow.

Grandma was right when she advised the first piece of furniture anyone should buy is a good solid kitchen table. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized all nutrition isn’t from food and all needs for nourishment and growth aren’t physical.

So if you’re contemplating buying a kitchen table, buy a solid one. Why? Because life’s most memorable moments will happen around the kitchen table. 

 

Wanda Moeller is the Publisher of The Daily Courier. She can be reached at wmoeller@thedigitalcourier.com