We had been using the same dining room table forever. Well, it seems that way. Nancy bought it shortly after we bought our first house back in 1980.
If I recall correctly, she bought the table first (because we had enough chairs -- we were kind of stretching to buy the house), from Pa's Woodshed, a furniture store in Binghamton, NY. It was a place that always appealed to me because it had a giant chair on its roof. You know, like in the old Batman comic books, it seems as if every company in Gotham City has a giant version of whatever it is that they make on their roof. The pen company, for example, has a thirty foot long fountain pen on its roof (which the Joker always uses to squirt Batman with about eighty gallons of ink). Pa's woodshed had a giant chair. Apparently there was a giant chair race -- similar to the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. -- going on during those same Cold War years. For a brief period -- right around the time when Nancy and I got married -- Pa's Woodshed held the Guineess record for largest chair in the world but, alas, was soon surpased. I also like Pa's for a series of amusing television commercials they ran in the eighties featuring "the Pa's Woodshed Hobo," played by the late Dick Smith, a theatre professor at the local state university and extremely popular actor at the Cider Nill Playhouse -- he and his wife Noni were incomperable in The Four Poster and The Gin Game and Bedroom Farce.
A couple of years later, while she was pregnant with Gillian, Nancy bought a set of chairs (also from Pa's Woodshed) to go with the table.
That table went through a lot. It was used for every meal, day in, day out, Nancy and me and Adam and Gillian and Jeremy. Well, Adam was a teenager then, so he wasn't too rough on it, but Gillian and Jeremy sure were... spilled milk and spilled juice and... well, you know, spilled everything that little kids can spill. Birthday parties. Halloween cupcake decorating parties (if it weren't ten o'clock at night I'd go hunt for some photographs to scan, but then wouldn't get to bed until after midnight).
Suffice it to say that we got a quarter century or so of service out of that table... but it was pretty battered. The table top surface was so bad that one day Nancy glued floor tiles to it. Well, it did give it an interesting look... but, unliess it were covered with a table cloth, it definitely was a different look. Uh, somewhat lacking in elegance...
We have looked at new dining room sets in recent years but never quite found what we wanted (and one thing we didn't want was to spend three or four thousand dollars for a table and a set of chairs). Finally Nancy found -- on Craigslist -- an elderly woman (oh, okay, so she was probably my age... or a year or two younger) who had downsized to an apartment and wanted to sell a relatively new dining room set because her apartment dining area was too small. So I rented a truck and Jeremy and I drove up to Massachusetts one day and bought this dining room set -- table, six chairs, and a china cabinet.
And the table sat there week after week -- unused -- because we needed to get a glass top to protect the table top (lest it go the way of its predecessor). Oh, we did use it a couple of times (after suitably covering it) but mostly it sat there unused while we ate in the kitchen. We finally got someone from a local glass company (okay, small town, that should be the local glass dealer) to come and measure it. And yes, of course, it would not be possible to have the glass top cut and delivered before Thanksgiving. (No, we didn't need it for Thanksgiving diinner, but it would have been handy the night before when we had about twenty people here.)
This morning the glass company called and said it was ready and would someone be home between 9:30 and 10:30. Yes, indeed. So it was delivered and put in place and Nancy was very pleased when she came home from work and discovered that the table now had a protective glass top.
As is all too typical these days, it was just Nancy and me for dinner. Even so, we absolutely had to eat in the.. the... say, Nancy asked me, what is the name of this room?
I told her "It's called the evening eating room of course."
Oh, yes, of course, that must be it, she agreed.
Blasts from the past -- selected entries from the archives for this date: