Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gather Round the Dinning Room Table

I’m a hunter and a gatherer, a flea market, second-hand, never look a gift horse in the mouth, bargain shopping princess. So when it came to finding a table, Craigslist was a natural magnet. And there among the headlines calling out like orphaned royal waifs - Queen Anne chair, Louis XV buffet - I found more than once the clarion call, beckoning me to buy a dinning room table.
Did you snort at the misspelling? I did. ‘Dining,’ not ‘dinning.’ Didn’t everyone know din meant noise, hubbub, commotion?
We finally found our table, not on Craigslist, but at a local consignment store (they’d even spelled ‘dining room table’ correctly on the placard, just in case we couldn’t recognize the slab of wood with four legs and a set of six chairs.). The table is huge, and I do mean huge, with an extra leaf for the option of extra hugeness.
Over the years it’s had its share of breakfast cereal overflow, Play-doh mayhem and dinnertime calamities. But what I notice most about the table is the noise. Always around it there are voices, laughing, prattling, squabbling, tattling. I realized at last, that although I had not intended to, I had indeed purchased a dinning room table.
Some nights the clatter of dropped silverware, the repeated please pass (sometimes hold the please), the family talking over and under and sideways one another makes my head spin. But it’s nothing compared to the nights when the house is empty. Then the dinning room table is hushed to a timid murmur. A single clink of silverware on plate, a single glass set down. The paper napkin crumples up in my hand amid the stillness. Then our table transforms into what, I suppose, it was always meant to be, a dining room table. Sedate, elegant, uniformly well-mannered.
And do you know, I don’t like it. I can’t stand having a dining room table. Give me the din, the mayhem, the commotion, because in our house that is what lets us know we are alive, and together -this incredible mishmash of family and friends.
When this table has worn itself out, when it is time for it to go, I hope I will be able to proudly list it on Craigslist:
Dinning Room Table - to a good home.
And I hope that another gathering of family and friends can sit around it and fill their lives with a feast of memories.
Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving with the people you love gathered near.


  1. I love this post, Susan. Our first dining room table was also our first "real" furniture - we got it new, but deeply discounted at Sears, where it was the most tasteful table in the whole place but off in a corner off the main floor, looking neglected. I loved that table. When we moved to a house that was smaller than our condo, we couldn't keep it, but we sold it to a young couple who was setting up house for the first time... and the cycle continued. Yes, dining room tables make the best memories when they are "dinning" room tables!

    Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone :)

  2. Beautiful post, Susan, and so fitting.


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