The Round Oak Table
I try to keep these stories short, but I could write a book about this subject. Alas, in the interest of brevity: It’s Sold!
Back in 1968 or so, maybe earlier, maybe later, who knows, we came upon an estate sale run by a friend of Kathy’s, Mrs. Reiser. She had a heavy round oak table, buffet and china closet that didn’t sell and we struck a deal for it.
Now, this was what is called “Tiger Oak.” It was beautifully patterned, naturally finished oak. It un-latched in the middle and stretched out with multiple leaves so that multiple people could sit down to dinner.
We paid the exorbitant amount of $40 for it.
About thirty years ago another Estate Sale lady offered us $2500 for it! It was such an attachment to our family, however, that we turned her down. We also assumed that, over the ensuing years, it would appreciate even more and our $40 investment would be secure.
Yesterday we loaded it into a U-Haul trailer rented by my daughter, Laura, and sent it off to Middle-America!
It’s hard to describe the Thanksgiving dinners around that table with Family and guests crowded in, filling each chair. When the family grew we would use extra table leaves and lay them between two chairs to stretch two seats into four at the table. The piano stool was always available, too.
The food? Ahhh, the food! The typical Thanksgiving food and then some! The house was always filled with the aroma of the steamy potatoes, squash, French-cut green bean with the fried onions on top! What’re they called anyway? I don’t know! Who cares anyway? – And then the pumpkin! I used to make the crusts and Kathy would do the filling. Both were delicious.
My specialty was fresh cranberries! Kathy didn’t like for me to do them because it was such a protracted process. I had to dump them all on the table, go over each berry looking for stems and other debris, checking for bad fruit – you know the routine. Then it would take up a burner on the stove and a place for me to stand, too long, in front of the stove. She didn’t like me to do Fresh cranberries! But it was a tradition! There’s just something about tradition!
Christmas! We didn’t worship Christmas, but we certainly did worship the Christ of Christmas! He was always central. The story of the Child, the Wise Men, and The shepherds were all part of our gatherings, often around the Old Oak Table.
The decorations were built on traditions, too. There was a tree top with cylinder that turned from the rising heat of a tree-light bulb. The cylinder had a crack in the side. We gave that to our son several years ago. He still uses it. He tried to fix the crack. It works! – It’s still cracked.
A few years ago we had Christmas at the homestead in Ashville. Lance and his family came north from Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a typical winter night in the town when they arrived, with light snow falling and with an accumulation of about ten inches of fluffy white. They walked in, put the little ones down and surveyed the décor. The gold garland spiraling up the post in the living room and extending across the beam of the opening to the dining room, the tree, the Irish angel on the tree top, the candles burning, the aroma! Lance smiled, nodded and said, “This is Christmas!”
We would then sit around the Round Oak Table with a mug of hot Cocoa or “Roma,” soaking in the warm candlelight and the support of family. A bowl of nuts usually sat on the oak lazy-Susan made by my Dad from an un-used leaf from the Round Oak Table.
Now, the old table was all loaded in this tiny U-Haul trailer and about to head for Kansas.
Kansas? What do I have to do with Kansas?
Well, that’s where Laura lives and that’s where the traditions of the Round Oak Table will continue – for now.