So I donated a dining room table and chairs today. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it was a bit of a big deal for me. You see I’ve had this table for the last 11 years. It was has seen me through countless chapters in my life during that time.
I purchased it the summer of 1998 when for the first time I lived off campus and shared a tiny flat with my then SO and another couple. It was definitely one of those halcyon day sort of things; to paraphrase Mungo Jerry “It was summer time and the living was fine”. It was really the first piece of real furniture I purchased. Eli and I were driving back from campus through one the Southwest Portland’s darkly slithering roads and we came across a garage sale in its final exhale and in the midst of strewn books and bobs was a fairly decent looking vintage 70′s dining table. Silver legs and faux wood paneling over particle board, including a leaf and six chairs. The owners seemed deflated by the heat of the day and wanting to be done with it they sold it to us for the paltry sum of I believe $35. Eli and I rejoiced at our fortune while we crammed the lot into his tiny 3rd generation Honda Civic affectionately name Jenny.
That year we supped at the table, labored of papers and homework, entertained friends and family. It saw me through the vegetarian portion of my diet (oh what things we do for love). Come the end of the fall semester, my father and I packed it in a 20 foot U-Haul and drug it back to Sisters while I was studying in Ireland. And there it lived until I graduated in the summer of 2000, and once I moved to Beaverton, my parents returned it to me, glad to have reclaimed the corner of their garage again.
At this time I was living the “vida-bachelor loco” with Bryon, a short walk to work and shorter to the grocery store. It didn’t see much use besides the occasional meal when we weren’t crashed on the couches. It stood silently in the corner biding its time.
Then I packed it into another U-Haul and drug it to the North-end of downtown Portland where it stood in our overly trendy digs in the Pearl district amidst massive revitalization. It sat well and served its purpose for Ean and I as we waxed philosophically about our failed love lives and Ean’s 1000 origami cranes.
Then into my studio apartment, the first time living alone. Standing quietly by while I rambled about. I ate breakfast there when I heard about the planes crashing in New York, PA, and DC.
After I moved in with Craig and Sara it served as a desk while I wrote code and watched 3 movies every 2 nights during my binge on the fledgling internet sensation Netflix. I saw more movies supported from the table than I will probably see during the course of my life.
When I moved in with the future Mrs. Kire it returned to its proud place as a dining table. Serving family and friends for a few years, disguised under table cloths during murder mystery dinners, holiday parties, bridal showers and birthdays.
We purchased our current home 4 years ago and it stood in the tiny dining room. Carrie used it for her writing desk and we shared our simple meals there.
With “Wee B” coming soon, and Carrie sick of the site of it, her insistence wore me down and I capitulated into buying a new table. Something more pleasant to sit around, and probably better suited for her desk. I think now that in spite of my protests of honoring frugality and practicality it was really the history that I had with it that made me put up such a tough fight from losing it. It certainly wasn’t a work of art, but it has been with me for what seem like ages. Quietly and faithfully serving.