Country kitchen table holds decades of memories
The pine tree that gave up its life to become lumber would be proud. Given the choice of converting into a pile of ash from a fire, decaying and rotting on the forest floor, or being struck by lightning, our pine took the route of becoming a piece of furniture. Namely a table and bench.
Not just any run of the mill table. And not just any bench. It’s our country kitchen table and kitchen table bench. For nearly three decades they have served our family well – providing refuge at mealtimes for a family of four – now a family of seven.
Beyond meals, they, along with four store-bought maple chairs, have served a host of family members and friends – at holidays, deer hunting seasons and various random gatherings. The two rest comfortably next to our four-by-eight-foot kitchen window.
They become our perch as we gaze east across our yard, the bird feeders, the outdoor wood boiler and the kennel outbuilding and my office. Beyond that, we can see our 10-acre prairie grass field, Vera’s pond and the woods that surrounds the creek.
From the perch we’ve observed eagles, osprey, deer, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and songbirds – too numerous to mention in this space. Around the table and from the bench we’ve discussed nature, homework, current events, politics and all other matters concerning life and death. The pine table and bench have served us well in that regard.
Not just any table and bench, don’t you know. They were made with love and care by the boss’s father, John. Look in any direction in our home and you’ll spot his remarkable handiwork. Maple kitchen cabinets, wood casing around the windows and doors and even the ceiling in our living room – made with aspen tongue and groove paneling made from trees we harvested along the creek – milled years ago by neighbors Cliff and Dave.
A woodworker extraordinaire, John handcrafted the sturdy pine furniture – cutting, planning, gluing, sanding and securing each piece with wooden pegs and hidden screws. And after three decades it stands sturdy and true – despite a family worth of wear and tear.
Like the time I accidentally broke the thick plate glass that originally covered the tabletop. “Don’t worry, I’ll replace it,” I told the boss. Twenty-five years later it remains glassless. The food grade varnish has lost the battle of time and across its surface are wounds and scars.
Claw marks on “my corner” of the table must have come from one of our dogs long ago. Or was it our one and only cat named Spike? Numerous scratches and scores scattered throughout are a result of hard pressed pens and pencils used while doing homework, bill paying or doodling. Memories, one and all. No doubt about it, our table and bench have character.
The country kitchen table and kitchen table bench made by my father-in-law John has become a refuge. An oasis from summer’s sweltering heat and winter’s bitter cold – where we can, despite the weather, still enjoy the outdoors and our backyard, the fields, the pond and woods beyond.
And to think, it all began with a sturdy pine tree and a fine wood craftsman.