gather ’round

So often it seems the timing of things, while perhaps not what one originally envisioned, ends up working out perfectly.  As in the case of our new, gorgeous, hand-crafted dining room table — here just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.  Some projects — many would say, most projects — we like to do ourselves, and for projects like these (well beyond our skills or expertise), we outsource.  It’s a good thing we know Mickey.

We had the idea to replace our old, rickety round table months and months ago and planted a seed with our lovely friend who contracted and finished our basement renovation.  (pictures coming…sometime…)  He liked the idea of building a nice farm table from scratch, and thus a deal was struck.  Admittedly, we hoped the table would be finished by August or September, but as one knows with hand-crafting, the very best things do come to those who wait.  Patiently we waited, enjoying the occasional update, and then last Saturday the three of us stood on our front porch in most eager anticipation (re: practically jumping out of our skin in excitement) and proceeded to be floored by what came through our door: a table I know will be the context for hundreds and hundreds of memories and special occasions to come.  I think you know a family heirloom when it walks in your door, and this was one of those times — Orlis promptly got out his toolbox to help assemble the table, and I nearly cried.

Isn’t she just gorgeous?

We assembled the mismatched chairs we have around the table and marveled at her deep beauty and amazing functionality.  Then we held an inauguration dinner in the way of squash soup and salad — a mainstay meal this fall — and felt the deliciousness of sitting down together in both a new way and an altogether familiar way too.  These dinner rituals hold so much more meaning than what’s on the table.

Promptly after dinner I pulled out the small gift I had been working on for our little table here — a quilted table runner (pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilt-It kit) and laid her down.  Oh, what a beaut.  I completely bolloxed the pattern for this little runner by not reading the instructions thoroughly enough and had to make-shift it to completion from about the middle of the project.  As you can see, it turned out okay (as so many disasters do), but I recommend not looking at the underside.  Let’s put it this way, thank goodness the project is intended to look skewed and funky, because…it is.  I’ll say this: laying the runner down felt like giving the table a bit of a heartbeat — a central focal point to show off her strong features and lovely sheen.  Moreover, it serves as a starting point for what comes next — a craft project? A spot of lunch?  A bit of grocery-list making?  Afternoon tea?  This is only the beginning.

Oh, I’m so pleased, and honored really, to have and hold such a solid piece at the center of our home, and it has my wheels just beginning to turn about the rituals of meals and sitting together as family and friends.

I’ll miss the roundness of our old table with its bad paint job and wobbly legs — it holds so many memories, and for now, does well holding boxes above the small puddles in our garage.  In the meanwhile, this new shape offers itself up so well to our lives right now…a strong, sturdy multi-tasking table as good for eating and cooking on as it is for puzzles, projects, sewing, and a thousand other things.  ”Gather rectangle” doesn’t hold quite the charm as an expression as “gather ’round” and so, I think I’ll hold with tradition and let the shape of a circle form in my heart as we gather around this beautiful, lovely place — with space for everyone and then some, and our feet firmly planted on the floor.  In gratitude and Thanksgiving….I’ll see you Friday for this moment.