Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spoons and Barns

Since we moved into this house about seven years ago, Sara has been on an endless quest to turn it into a home. I’m the sort of person that would rather stay here than move, so I’ve been making an honest effort to improve the place little by little. Just to give you some perspective, on any given day she will see a for sale sign somewhere and make a list of the reasons we should immediately move before someone else gets the house – and on any given day I consider all of the reasons that would make me leave this place... Decaying front porch? No, I can deal with that. Water in the basement, stinkbugs in the attic, and mice in the crawlspace? No problem. Crackheads moving into our spare bedroom and poltergeists in the closets? Maybe they can contribute, after all it takes a village to raise a child...
On rare occasions, our desires intersect. When they do, and we are powered by a collective covet, it’s best to stay the hell back. Since we’ve had an actual dining room (and perhaps fueled by pictures in every cooking magazine I’ve ever read that show elaborate dinners attended by quirky & beautiful guests sprawled out over expansive tables) I’ve always wanted a table as a centerpiece. The dining room table we were using had history on it’s side – it’s the table I grew up with, eaten countless meals around, instigated and resolved a lifetime of arguments, and sat behind while I’ve told and heard every story worth telling. What I’ve always wanted was something to make our own history with, a table worthy of countless friends, and a new lifetime of arguments, jokes, and a shitload of food. When Sara said (out of the blue) that she wanted a farm table, I was electric.
One thing you have to do in our house is seize the moment. Plans we make tend to get swept under the rug unless they're fought for, so I started fighting. For the next few days I looked everywhere - furniture stores, eBay, and on websites of carpenters and companies from Vancouver to our front door - and as luck would have it, I happened across Stable Tables about 20 miles away from us. John, it turned out, was exactly the guy we were looking for. His place was like Christmas morning - piles of barn wood, salvaged floor joists, and wide planks of birch and red oak strewn across the workshop pulsing with potential energy.
We talked for a while, looked at wood and finishes, had lemonade, played with his dog Butch, and without any pause, I wrote a check. Behind the scenes John started working, and within a couple of weeks he was lugging it into our dining room.
Before I go any further, I know it's just a table, and a lot of you might not really care what your dining room table looks like. It's ok, I don't play golf. I don't give a shit about college basketball, I don't work on my car, and think the movie 'Mamma Mia' sucks. To each his own. But my table... ahh, my table. Perfect. Perfect because of its imperfections. It's rough and uneven, like reclaimed wood should be, full of character from a past life... and this morning, with my some of my family here, it was just what I hoped for... somewhere I wanted to stay and watch the kids dig through plates of fruit and waffles while I'm planning the next meal, and listen to the same stories my parents have told a hundred times. Most of all, a place where I can close my eyes, hear Sara and the kids, and know that I'm home. Sappy, but I don't care, I don't golf.

1 comment:

B.T.L, III said...

Joe, I enjoyed your story. I'm the genesis for the iron-based table (the winner of THE BET). Believe me, I knew full well I was going to be one table richer when I agreed to it! If you don't remember the story, John will remind you.

 
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