Monday, May 02, 2005

Clare's Table

Caleb's father bought his mother a table. It was in her kitchen for as long as Caleb can remember. A big oaken beast whose joints squeaked when she would wash it.

Recently, we have inherited this table, or at least it is on a long loan. Part of the deal of having it is that we will refinish it, take care of it...and use it well. [those are my stipulations]

I was pretty skeptical about having it here...for one it is huge, and our dining area isn't. For another, I didn't think that Caleb would actually work on it. Caleb is like his dad. And for as much as I love Caleb's dad, I know how time can slip away and the next thing you know it is 20 years later, and a project that you intended to get done right away, never does. Which is the story of this table.

Clare had waited 20 years [or more] to have this antique table refinished and glossed so that she could display her find in her home. Instead it ended up under piles of paper and other items, in the corner of the kitchen. I'm sure that is not what she had envisioned when she purchased this table.

So, I have been prodding Caleb to work on it into his busy schedule...because I think that the dining room table is one of the most important focal points of a home. We sit together for dinner there...we debate there, and we have our friends over to play cards there. A table is to be cared for because we do spend a lot of time around it.

Having this table, and refinishing it will fulfill two goals...I hope. 1. To dedicate it to his mother's memory as a place of honor...and 2. To provide our family with a cherished place in which we can create our own memories of family time.

Yesterday...Caleb was very motivated to work on the table...and it didn't take Zac long to get involved. Zac has been taking woodshop in school and he really likes working with tools. I hope that he does something with that interest some day.

You can see them both hard at work...or at least having fun with our new power tools.

Our neighbors actually didn't complain about the noise...instead those that came by asked questions about the table...where it came from, and why we are refinishing it...and Caleb told them the story about how his dad bought it for his mom so long ago...and now that she has passed away, it has come to us, and now...since Mother's Day is next Sunday, he wants to finish the his mother's memory and as a present for me...because I want to display the table just as Clare did.

In fact, I will be using her tea set as a centerpiece...
I know that technically the table is ours, and we probably won't ever have to give it back to his dad...but I think that this will always be Clare's table. And I am honored that it is in my home and under my care.


At 08:44, Blogger AfricaBleu said...

What a great gift! I love our table too - it was my grandparents (who are still living). It is actually sometimes too SMALL - a round, country-style table with a maple top. We scraped all the ugly brown antique finish off of it and found this beautiful wood underneath - now it fairly glows in the sunshine.
And you're absolutly right about the memories - my grandma told me her boys (my dad and his twin brother) used to run and hide under the table when they got scared. Sometimes I can see the ghost of the child who was my father still hiding there, especially when my own children have blankets draped over it to make a tent. It is a safe spot.
Great post...and Happy Mother's Day!

At 08:45, Anonymous JgPoet said...

It's realy cool to refinish antiques. But it is much more rewarding when the item means something personal to you. Enjoy it.....and good luck in the project.

At 13:14, Blogger Kimba said...

We have inherited Paul's grandparent's dining set, and I know exactly what you mean about the honour of cherishing it. I know how deeply Caleb loved his mother, what a a wonderful statement of that love.

At 16:55, Blogger Kassi said...

Caleb also has memories of his friends gathering at that table for various it means a lot to him to have it in that regard as well.

At 10:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that Caleb is getting the opportunity to work on something that has so much meaning for him and that he and Zac get the opportunity to work on something together. By the way, Zac looks so grown up in that picture.


At 11:10, Anonymous Nathan Logan said...

Good choice on using the orbital sander. The last time my dad refinished our table, he used a belt sander with some fairly course sandpaper.

Moral of the story?

The next time we refinish it, we're going to have to take an eighth of an inch off the top to get the grooves out. He's not a detail person. =) But he certainly does work hard and knows how to get the job done. My dad's a hard worker - probably the hardest I know.

At 20:37, Blogger Mrs.Strizzay said...

THAT is a great story.


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