The Temporary Table

Back when I was painting my kitchen a friend told me I should get a rectangular table to replace the round one I have.

“NO WAY!”  I over-reacted, “That table means a lot to me; it was my parents’.”

She looked at with an expression of bewilderment as why a crappy table like that could mean so much: we must have been poor.

It’s the kind of table you find really cheap at a second-hand shop or yard sale. Black metal pedestal with four plain feet. The top is thick acrylic over gaudy fabric. Its yellowed over the years.


Back when I was a budding adolescent we had a large wooden dining room table with rather large heavy chairs. The set filled the dining room so you had to wiggle sideways to get in the chairs against the wall.  When I was a teenager we moved to a smaller apartment and the set would not fit in at all. My parents decided a round table would be just right.

This was agreed upon with great reluctance because when my parents bought furniture, they fought bitterly. They fought a lot anyway but furniture-buying was a declaration of war.

They would leave with their jaws set and heads held up in determination to get what they want.  They would return with nothing, mad at each other. My mom would run to their bedroom in tears and slam the door: my dad would go out on the balcony for a smoke.

This hunt for a the perfect dining room table was the ‘pink peony’ vs. ‘brown corduroy’ upholstery all over again. That went on for months when they decided to just re-upholster: that way they didn’t have to go pick a new couch……… but they did have to pick out upholstery fabric.

One day they came home with this table. They both hated it but at least they agreed that they both hated it.  It had been marked down several times so it was cheap and was the perfect diameter. My mom sewed and decided she would make table cloths for it. It would give them time until they found the right table.  They found chairs they both liked (!) that didn’t go with the table at all.  Maybe they could find a table to go with the chairs.

I loved going to Fabricland, still do.  Mom would look for very wide fabric so it wouldn’t have seams and made several round tablecloths. She would stitch a tiny little flower, with matching thread so it was barely visible, in the centre to make it easy to center the cloth. They were beautiful. No one knew the table was so cheap and temporary.

They never bought another table. My mom’s MS got worse. My dad died of a heart attack before his retirement.  My mom re-married, moved into Earl’s house, and took her table. She still had some of her old tablecloths and I would look for nice round tablecloths on my travels.

She could pull up to it in a wheel chair in the earlier days and we could eat together but as years went by it became harder for her to sit up and she would have to stay in bed. The table became cluttered with her husbands’ newspapers.

After she died we left all her things there because it was his home and his stuff. We visited him a couple of times but his house became so dirty and cluttered (he refused to let anyone clean it with “poisonous chemicals”) I would gag when I went in so we turned it into ‘picnics’.

He died a few years later. We took two vans loads, two times, filled crap and furniture to clear out my moms things. The crap was piles of stuff that had everything from old newspapers to important papers. We had to go through every thing in case there was something of my mom’s hidden in clutter.

At that time my marriage of 28 years had broken up and I was getting my own place. Of course I took the table and chairs.

I have no plans to replace it.

005(but it still needs a tablecloth)


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Hand-Me-Downs.”

Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.

3 thoughts on “The Temporary Table

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