Second Hand Table

Way before the likes of Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s list there was a relic that was distributed once a week called the classified ads. My parents were the type of humans who pounced on the paper as soon as it was printed just to see what was for sale. I distinctly remember it being separated into categories. Some of the notables were: cars, guns, furniture, clothes and homes for rent or sale.

If you have ever met my father then you are aware he was probably looking at the gun selections and my mother was consistently looking at furniture. Having to raise three children on meager salaries left very little money for the luxury of paying full price for anything. It wasn’t out of character for us to come home to a new-to-us piece of furniture or something that was purchased second hand.
On one particular day after I had already moved out of the house, I stopped by my parents’ house for a quick visit. When I walked in I noticed that my father, with a polishing rag in hand, was carefully making his was around a new-to-us table and chairs. He was methodically moving around and wiping as my mom directed.

“George, you missed a spot,” I can still hear her saying this in her soft but almost panicked and firm tone. And, then he would circle back until it met her approval.
I couldn’t help but notice the sparkle in her eye as she stared at this table. It was as if she wanted me to ask questions. So, I did.

She went on to tell me that it was a solid maple table made by the company, “Tell City”. She had wanted one of these tables ever since she got married and that everyone, she knew had this kind of table while growing up. She also explained that it was owned by the parents of one of the owners of a furniture store in Natchitoches so it had to have been well taken care of.

She was completely smitten and mesmerized by this table and I was so tickled to see the pure joy in her eyes as she explained how to tell if it was Tell City or not. As of today, I still have an eye for this distinct style of furniture. I never will forget our holidays gathered around that second hand table.

Many years after my mother passed away, I answered a call from a cousin to assist in the packing up of my aunt’s home while she made the transition to assisted living. That day many cousins showed up and helped pack and liquidate decades of memories. While she knew she could not bring all of her belongings with her, she wanted to make sure that everyone who purchased something from her home, knew where it came from and how well it had been cared for. It was possibly the sweetest estate sale of the century.

Over a two-day period almost everything had sold as she planned except for her dining room table and chairs. My cousin had mentioned that she did not want to part with it because it was solid maple and well crafted.

Uh oh, I knew exactly what this meant. I told my cousin that it was probably Tell City, and once she climbed out from under the table she looked at me with an affirmative nod. At the time I did not need a dining room table but I told her I would try to help them sell it. To no avail, a few days went by and I received a call from my aunt. I was tasked with telling her that I could not find anyone to purchase the valuable table so she asked if I decided if I needed one and If I did she would make me a really nice deal. I was silent for a moment as I was thoroughly thinking about it, then she quietly said, “Reeber, your mom always liked this table.” She has always called me,

“Reeber”, and I have always loved the way she says it. I could hear the sparkle in her voicewhen she offered me this treasure.

With those few words spoken all I could say was, “Sold, when can I pick it up?”

I couldn’t stand the thought of this second-hand-solid maple block-once loved by my mom-table going to another home other than my own.

This Thanksgiving It doesn’t matter if you gathered around a second-hand table that has held decades of memories in the past or celebrated around a new table with new memories to come.  As long as you were thankful and grateful. Breaking bread with family can happen in the best of times or the worst of times but there is nothing more precious than family.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God.”Acts 2:46


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