Kitchen Table
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

It's just an old, family kitchen table.

And last week my wife and I gave our children the news. After more than 30 years we were getting rid of it and buying a new one.

The old chairs sag. It's all scratched and dented. We are remodeling. The time has come.

First daughter: "You can't get rid of it!"

Second daughter: "We grew up at that table."

They don't have room for it in their homes. But they like to come to our house and see the old, family kitchen table because they can hardly remember a time in their lives when we didn't have it.

After three children, three grandchildren and more than 30 years, what is a kitchen table?

Every scratch is a memory.

This is the family kitchen table where we ate together every morning and every night.

Three generations have tried to hide their peas under this table. This includes me.

This kitchen table is the site of marathon Monopoly, Scrabble and card games. "You didn't say Uno!"

It is the place for family conferences. It is the laughing table. It is the place where teenagers in trouble have faced their lectures and children have ignored advice. It is the homework table.

"Dad, do you know Algebra?"

"No. I've never met her."

This is the table used to celebrate baptisms, confirmations, graduations. It's the table for paying bills.

This is the kitchen table of first birthday cakes and sweet 16 parties. It is a singing table. I remember sitting around this table singing Christmas carols far into the evening. It is the friend table where people we will love forever have gathered just to enjoy being together.

This is the dreaming table - so many dreams around our old, family kitchen table. It is the pizza table and the ice cream table.

It is the kitchen table of Christmas breakfasts, Easter egg coloring, pumpkin carving, gingerbread house building, model ships and airplanes.

My wife, Jeanne, had this table before we met. We planned our marriage at this table. We planned our life at this table. I remember kissing her at this table - most recently, just last night.

The first time I met Jeanne's mother was a Saturday lunch at this table. Jeanne made bacon, lettuce, tomato, egg and cheese toasted sandwiches. I decided she was the one for me.

It's just an old, family kitchen table. It needs to be replaced.

But I'm thinking maybe we should table this plan.

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