Slowly, I wash the table with familiar strokes, back and forth.
The crumbs fall to floor, and the splatters disappear.The plates and cups, and all breakfast remnants are cleared away. I walk over to the sink to start filling it with water, add a dollop of clear soap and watch as the suds begin to rise. It is quiet but there is a feeling as I pause for a moment of, Nothing.
Hoping now, I remember again.This time I am overwhelmed with memories at this table and many more tables that I have paused for some time at. The first plans for Christmas meals, the birthday parties, first solid foods, spilled milk. Friends have gathered here. Family have grown as each meal passes. I remember first meals with new family here. Walking back to the table and looking for all the familiar marks that it now bears. Cups that have knocked over and smashed on the table. Forks that have been fiddled with as someone waits ever so carefully for the food to be placed down in front of them. Hot pots that have scorched through the wood.
I have seen so many tables. Ones that I have been invited to and ones that I have invited myself to. Ones that hold dear memories that I will never know. There is my first meal alone on my own. Tables where stories were told that both inspired and empowered my thoughts. I welcome the past into my present sometimes.
Noticing that the table that is freshly washed is a little empty I fill it with a candle and a large bowl of gathered rocks that our boys have eagerly gave, for their collection. Now all collaborated into one bowl they all have stories as they wait for drinks, food or conversation to start sitting around the table.
“I found this one out back at Grandpa’s shop that time he built the go-cart with me.”
“Do you remember when we went on that old abandoned road and there was a creek where we threw stones. This is one of those throwing stones.”
” I found this one in front of our house, it’s shiny.”
From the moment the boys make contact with their memories, the voices rise about who remembers more correctly until; their mom, little sister or even dad chime in with a “hush quiet, let’s all take turns.” It is still so quiet right now I can hear the bubbles deflating in the dish water, waiting.
“Please just try it, it might be tasty.” I say as the his eyes start darting nervously from the first unfamiliar glances at what’s for dinner.
“Why?” Ethan asks, obviously needing to know that their is hope in this food.
“Because I tried, and its always good to try new things."
I smile even in this moment that he paused because I know he will try it. When all is said and done there is always a- “oh ok it is good or no thank you.”
We talk and laugh and are often quiet around this table. But if there is too long of a pause someone always has something to say.
There are memories of our children learning how to give thanks, building crafts, learning to draw, writing their first letters.
Time is always on the move and it sure has epic stories to tell that began at a table..
Drawing memories, with many cups of coffee..