Saturday, April 21, 2012

Community and our new OLD table

In the years of WAITING-TO-MOVE I day-dreamed about what it would be like to live in a small community.  I grew up in a town that used to be small - when I was a child I knew almost everyone and certainly almost every adult knew that I was so-and-so's kid.  I remember walking into the post office and asking for the mail and getting Grandma and Grandpas while I was there - no questions ever asked.

Life just isn't like that any more - the simple friendships and slower pace of life seem to be long forgotten and perhaps more wonderful in my memories as I tend to remember the good things and forget the bad - or at least I was too young to know what was going on.

It takes a long time to "break into" a new community.  When I meet some new-to-me neighbours they inevitably ask where I live - my answer always used to be - in Bill & Barb's old house.  They would look at me quizzically so I would say - in Fred & Ruby's old farmhouse.  OH THERE!  Bill & Barb lived here for 23 years but I guess that wasn't long enough to make it theirs. 

One of the joys of moving to this community has been meeting "Down-town Donna" and her husband - they live where two roads cross so I teasing refer to her as Down-town Donna.  Donna is the niece of the original owners and is also the area historian. (and she taught my daughter and I to can all kinds of pickles last year)  We've spend many hours over tea talking about who-is-related-to-whom and what life was like back-in-the-day.  The other day she showed us some photos she's getting ready for a community project.  In one there was 14 feet of snow in front of our house.  She remembers being cautioned to not reach above their heads or they would touch the hydro wires.  The pictures showed every able-bodied man in the area digging out the road.  It was a near impossible job but they did it anyway. 

She also showed us a black and white photo of Aunt Ruby and a group of ladies standing by the back door of our home on a beautiful spring day... and there was a back porch right where I wanted to build one.

During our very first tea chat we got talking about my desire for a bigger table in the dining room.  They mentioned that they had an old wooden table out in the shed - it had been out there for about 20 years.  They had tried to give it to their daughters but no one in the family wanted it.  The table had  originally come from our farmhouse.  Would we like to have it back?  Sight unseen I said a very enthusiastic YES!

We dragged it out of the shed and put in in the van and I brought it home.  I loved the table just the way it was with it's worn look but it was far too small for our needs in the dining room so it went upstairs to be put to use as a card table for a year while I thought about what to do with it.  I had an idea but I needed to be sure!

This week I made up my mind.  The table was either going to languish mostly unused in the corner or it would have a glorious new purpose as a huge coffee table where we could all enjoy it.

I have my brave moments but big cutting power tools are a little outside my comfort zone - not that I let that stop me!  I set up the table saw and went to it.  I had to force myself not to think about it too much because I was cutting the legs off of a 100 year old antique table and it does go against my grain of restoring things.  When it was over and everything was reassembled we were all very pleased.  

We now have a huge coffee table - big enough for the food platters when everyone comes home to visit and a reminder that life has been happening here at the farm for 150 years or more.  I wonder at the many meals taken around that table and the conversations that would have ranged from politics and farming to how cold the outhouse was in the winter.  I suspect it may have been a place were hurts were shared and grace was said over the meals.  It feels right to be part of our everyday lives.

Welcome home table!


  1. You are very brave! I am afraid of power tools, too. I think my dad might have gone a bit over the top about warning us away from his tools when we were children. I think there is a part of them that believes they really will just leap up at me and cut a finger off! I am glad that you are getting use out of your table and not just having it upstairs gathering dust and making you feel bad. And how wonderful to have furniture with a story when you have friends and family round. Enjoy!

    Jennifer (England)

    1. I'm sure that's where my fear came from too! I was quite a sight when I was finished - covered from head to toe in sawdust shavings :)

  2. Beautiful table!! Oh yes, small towns.....I remember when "the new people" in one small town were still called that after 25 years in "so and so's" house. LOL. And our post office still knows me as the local Midwife, (even though I've been retired for several years) and whenever ANY mail comes for anything to do with birth or breastfeeding, they just put it in MY box. lol

    1. I'm hoping that by becoming involved in the community I will overcome my "newness" :)

  3. The table looks GREAT! Nice that it made it's way "home", you are way braver than I am, I don't think I could have brought myself to cut the legs off.


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