Maybe it’s the dinner scene in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. Maybe it’s the sense that J and I became a family in part in the kitchen, learning to cook together, teaching ourselves and each other whole new ways of eating and living. Maybe it’s the dinners I’ve had at the tables of friends: eating great food, laughing, admiring paper placemats decorated by kids. Maybe it’s the game of “high/low” that I’ve always imagined myself playing with my family at dinner, coming together to reflect on the highlights and the struggles of each day. But whatever the reason, the dining room is incredibly important to me. It’s the room that makes me most think of family.
When J and I first moved to this state, we had no table at all (and no money either), so we bought the first affordable set we could find, which was this:
Vintage 1982. “From Marshall Field’s when the Field’s name meant something.” Mint condition; a retro-lover’s paradise. But the only thing I truly love from 1982 is my wife. I was able to love it only with heaps of irony.
So I have longed for a new table, and I’ve fantasized that, before we brought our children home, we would have a table that fit my image of us, together, eating as a family. Now, my dream table is the table from Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ space ship, Serenity (from the one-season-only science-fiction western Firefly). And I do want to commission a carpenter to build one like that for me in the future because my dream dining room table would seat ten. I have some hope that this dream will come true. I have some hope of getting a real job when I’m done with this PhD (and real jobs are really necessary if your dream is to commission the construction of a ten top table). In the meantime, I’ve been looking for a table to love. Something classic. Something heavy and substantial. Something we can be a family while sitting around. And something (this has been the tricky part) that we can afford on our increasingly modest budget.
I’ve been looking for years. I’ve been looking every single day for months. And then, two days after my mom gave me some money for my birthday, I found it. Used. For about 1/10th of its value (and for almost exactly what my mom gave me). So here it is, looking gorgeous in our little dining room:
And a closer shot just for the pleasure of it:
(And in other happy news.)
1. We heard Rabbit River’s heartbeat again on Wednesday (July 13th): A sweet, strong 172.
2. I went kayaking this morning with a friend. We saw rabbits, baby and mama ducks, and a swan family. We saw the moon set and the sun rise. (Do moons set?) I learned that kayaking is hard work.
3. Summer Supper Club last night was happy and simple. Evenings outside in a midwestern summer should not be squandered.
4. I’ve been seriously nesting, and it’s not just the table. We packed our television away. It was never plugged into even basic channels, and we only really used it to watch old episodes of Queer as Folk, Six Feet Under, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The West Wing during workouts anyway (something to occupy the mind while doing free weights and sit-ups). And we just didn’t want it here when the Rabbit comes home. We’ll put it back out someday, once we have more space and an armoire to hide it away behind.
Hope you’re all having happy summers!