Don’t you love those TV design shows where the dining room is gorgeous? Elegant tables, beautiful linens, china and crystal, flower arrangements, place cards, and all of it set in a beautiful room.
As a young woman with my own apartment I did my best to give the dining table a nice appearance and was thrilled to eventually have a home with a formal dining room. For large dinners I planned the table settings and arrangements, ironing linens, being sure the crystal sparkled, and adding little touches. I loved hearing “your table is lovely” as though it validated my efforts.
Moving on, that house ended and we moved to a house with a kitchen-den arrangement and a space in between for a table. For years that worked quite well. The table stayed clear of anything but a nice centerpiece and two placemats and cloth napkins for dinner each night.
Then, hubby and I both retired and the battle for the dining table was on. Many things change when both husband and wife are home all day and a tidy table was one. In short time the dining table became the catch-all between the back door and front door, holding mail and newspapers, craft projects, a basket of salt and pepper and vitamins and medicines, keys, hats, etc. NO, NO, NO, the dining room table was supposed to be picture perfect.
I commented to a friend about the mess. She smiled and said that she thought of the table in her home as a gathering table – the place where people and things gather and share themselves, and where things are picked up and moved to where they needed to be. Hmmm, that is a nice way to say it.
I have compromised. The dining table remains a gathering table. A place where the morning papers are read over coffee, and the late afternoon mail is opened, sorted, read, and stacked to one end before diner. Sometimes things are conveniently placed at one end as a reminder that in a day or two they need to go somewhere with one of us, or they are part of a project we are working on for an organization we belong to. And when others will be joining us it doesn’t take much to move the few items somewhere else and set a nice table, although these days fancy tablecloths and other formalities are not so popular.
In the larger scheme of things, no TV crew is at the door, no one said they won’t come to my house if the table is messy, and it is more fun to work on projects on that table than sequestered alone in some other part of the house. So, come one over for coffee. I’ll make room at the dining table.
What’s on your dining table?
Every Day Is A Good Day. VJ