Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Thanksgiving Table Gives Thanks

Snicker. The blog is named after him 

                 by  Valerie L. Egar

        A hundred and twenty years I’ve been in this farmhouse. Made from wide plank pumpkin pine, I glow in evening sun that comes through the west windows. It’s been a long time, but I still remember the forest, the weight of snow on my limbs, the green scent of spring, summer bird song.

            The stain near the edge over there? A bit of ink spilled from a mother writing letters to a son soldiering in some war. Lots of men on this farm have been called to serve and serve they did, but that left some of the chairs empty and a great sadness in the house.

           The little crack across the top— that’s from an enthusiastic bop with a toy hammer Santa left one of the children for Christmas.  Made from metal, it was small in size but packed a wallop. Ouch!

          My legs aren’t as smooth and well shaped as they used to be.  The chew marks record the family’s history of dogs: a few collies, early on. A beagle who was a pretty good hunter from what I’ve heard. Noble German Shepherd. Then, a black lab who really did a number on one leg. Gosh, puppies like to chew!

            I’ve seen some lean years, years when the farm didn’t yield, when money was short and dinner consisted of thin sliced bread with watery gravy. Other years, my top brimmed with so many home-canned tomatoes, pickles and string beans, I almost groaned.

          I’m proud to be a table. I’m where she puts her prize winning apple pie before she carries it to the fair. I’m where her blue ribbon rests when she comes home, until she hangs it with all the rest she’s earned over the years.

          In the winter, I’m where friends gather, drink hot cocoa  and visit.

   I’m where children roll out cookie dough and cut out gingerbread men.

   I’m where children do their homework while Mom cooks.

I’m where the men warm up with mugs of coffee after a long work day.

I’m where the family gathers at holidays. My favorite is Thanksgiving. They dress me up with a fancy cloth and a vase of chrysanthemums, light candles. They load me with food that isn’t everyday fare: a huge roasted turkey. Ham, too, because a few don’t like turkey. Stuffing with the aroma of sage. Sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, like dessert, except it isn’t.  Mashed potatoes. Gravy. String bean casserole. Cranberry relish. Sweet pickles. Corn pudding.  Brussels sprouts?  Someone always brings them, but I’m not sure why.

Before they begin to eat, each says why he or she is grateful.  One says, “Family.”  Another, “Good health.”  So many reasons to be thankful: “Friends.” “Finding a job.” “Graduating.” “Getting into college.”  The younger ones say things that bring a smile: “I’m grateful for my new kitten.” “Thankful my braces are off, finally!” “Glad I made the football team.”

What they don’t know is that I’m grateful, too. Grateful I’ve been part of the family for generations. Grateful no one decided to opt for a newer more stylish table and push me to the back of the barn or worse, chop me up for the wood stove. Grateful they don’t mind my scars and scratches. Grateful we have another Thanksgiving to share where I can happily shoulder the feast and be part of the stories and the laughter.

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Published November  13, 2016 , The Sunday Journal Tribune. Copyright 2016 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author. 


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