Kitchen Chairs, Tea Kettles & Wallpaper

I sat down at my kitchen table this morning for my yogurt & nuts breakfast boosted with a warm morning cappuccino concoction. It was a familiar act, but these days of such full lives have not allowed the comfort of this routine. So as I looked up from my bowl, I realized the enormity of what had just occurred. I felt the sturdiness of the chair supporting me, my slippered feet each wrapped snuggly behind the chair’s front legs. Almost instantly, visitations of memories filled the other empty chairs. Images of children tilting their chairs to their back legs to rock in motion or to simply lean in its rest against the wall. For all the years of such “abuse”, the craftsmanship of these old pieces withstood time. As I smiled, I saw my hand touch the neighboring chair, rubbing its cool smoothness of the colorful paint I had covered it with years ago for my own small family of three delightful little girls. Yellow, green and blues kept my company now. I remembered the gray slathering of paint of my childhood years hidden underneath those colors which was finished over again with a glossy turquoise as we entered our later teens in Dad’s attempt to extend their lives from the wear and tear. Grandchildren, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, cousins and more; we all gathered round, doubling up in those chairs to partake in the laughter, silliness, games, conversations, prayers and meals set upon that “grand” table. The slapping sound of a loose strip of formica from the table’s edge caught my mind. How we use to peel the rough dried yellow glue from under its surface! Yes, another “facelift” for that table of life when Dad applied that formica. I thought about the years. So many years of gatherings. So many years of cribbage, old maid, yahtzee, slap jack and spoons. So many years of Whist among the adults and chips ‘n dips for the kids. A childhood. A lifetime. The only kitchen table I remember. And now, all these years later, it sits in my kitchen. The legs sanded to their original cherry. It was during that process that I realized how small that frame was and that I did not remember any original tabletop. How did my parents make it so big? Today, a thin cherry slab finishes the setting among the colorful chairs. It is quiet in my apartment but I can still see the vintage country village of the old dining room wallpaper and I hear in the kitchen, the tea kettle’s whistle announcing another gathering at the family table.