Home: The Dining Table


Reading Under the Tuscan Sun the other day, I came upon a paragraph I could really relate to. In it, Frances Mayes describes the acquisition of a long yellow dining table for their summer home in Italy…

The long stretch of summer calls for a long tavola. Now that the kitchen is finished, we need a table outdoors, the longer the better, because inevitably the abundance at the weekly market incites me to buy too much and because inevitably guests gather – friends from home, a relative’s friends from somewhere who thought they’d say hello since they were in the area, and new friends, sometimes with friends of theirs. Add another handful of pasta to the boiling pot, add a plate, a tumbler, find another chair. The table and the kitchen can oblige.

I have considered my table, its ideals as well as its dimensions…

The description continues for a couple of pages and I love it, because I can so identify with the sense of the life and love that happen around a table. As we prepared to move back down here to Devon, we had dreams of finding the perfect table for our new kitchen: one that would seat many; something sturdy that would stand the test of time and use; something that would see our family grow and our friends around us…

We had a low budget and little time, but we knew what we wanted. And one Saturday as we drove back from an afternoon out, we sailed past a second hand furniture shop, and on a whim turned around and stopped in. And that is where we found it. That it had belonged to some other family only added to its charm.

It is now a centrepoint in our new lives: only this week it has held meals for friends, welcomed two teenage visitors from my old youth group, been my quiet sanctuary as I start each day with coffee and a little reading. My nieces sat here to make bracelets with me and their friends joined us to decorate cakes. I have made plans on it, sorted stock on it, shared pizza with Andrew at it…

It’s not that another table wouldn’t do, or that without it our friends and family would fall away. But it is certainly a symbol of a very fortunate life, in which we get to live and love in peace and freedom. I am grateful for it and what it represents.




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