Which is nothing like the sound of silence.
When I was a wee one, many centuries ago, I would sit on my mother’s lap when she was sewing, and when she was cutting fabric, and pretty much any time she sat down.
My favorite times were when she was at the dining room table, cutting fabric for a quilt, or a doll dress, or a dress for me.
We ate Sunday dinner at the dining room table. It was pretty much always the same, pot roast – the cheap cut that had strings tied around it for some reason – mashed potatoes, some vegetable. My mother was sometimes a good cook. Sunday dinner was not one of those times. She firmly believed that there was no such thing as an overcooked piece of beef. (She was wrong)
I did my homework at the dining room table. We didn’t have a den or an office – we all did our homework at the table. Then we cleared it off and had dinner when there were enough of us home that the kitchen table was too small.
I did my homework at that table all through high school, and college – all 3 degrees, including studying for the GMAT to get into grad school. ‘
We cut quilt blocks on the dining room table – because it was the most convenient place We quilted many quilts, my mother on one side of the table and me on the other. The sound of scissors cutting through fabric on a wooden table will always take me back to those days.
We did jigsaw puzzles on that table. My father loved to do puzzles, I still giggle when I think of him sitting there pondering where a piece was as I walked past, paused, picked it up and put in in place. “damn it!” he’d swear, “I was trying to find that for an hour!” (It was probably 10 minutes )
We had holiday meals at that table. Put in a leaf, pull up another chair, sit close and don’t eat off your neighbor’s plate – unless it’s something really good and you can make them laugh when you steal it.
We once put a board between chairs to make enough room for the little kids (one of whom was moi) – that was the year we ran out of potatoes and my father kept offering more to my Uncle Bill, who, being a gentleman, kindly refused – which was a good thing since there were no more!
I learned to play 500 Rummy at this table. There were endless games of cards, daily games of Yatzee, Risk, Monopoly and too many more to name.
When my mom died, I inherited the table. I’ve written lesson plans, created videos, done diamond paintings, and continued to study at this table. I just finished a quilt – thrown across the dining room table so I could stitch in comfort.
The stories this table could tell. My mother would talk of the women gathering during WWII, while the men were overseas, and contact was minimal – if there was any contact at all. They would gather around the table, Ouija board in the center, to try to learn anything about the men they loved. What else did they discuss, those cold, lonely nights? What stories has this table heard, and seen? My journals have often been written here. I’ve fallen asleep, head resting on this wooden surface.
And it sits here, in my dining room, a quiet presence, a piece of the past, of my past, and I wonder sometimes – if only it could talk.