Printed in The Sun Magazine, March 2009
When my family moved from the city to the country, no store-bought dinette would do for the kitchen. My father built a sturdy farm table and let me write everyone’s name on the underside in my seven-year-old’s handwriting.
More than eight feet long and too heavy for one person to lift, the table still dominates my parents’ kitchen. It is the kind of table on which you can fill flowerpots and cut potatoes. And when dinnertime comes, you can push the newspapers and junk mail to one end and still have plenty of room for the food.
The tabletop is scarred with crisscrossing lines from many knives and pizza cutters. Spots of gray paint show where my sister and I decorated plaster elephant statues. There are also paint flecks from my mother’s peace-rally signs, tape from my dad’s last project, and wax from last year’s Hanukkah candles. My father recently offered to refinish the boards. “What?” my mother said. “And erase all these years?”