One evening after sitting for hours around a friend’s kitchen table with a bottle of wine (well, maybe two), our laughter quieted to take on a
more serious tone. The subject, remarkably
the table at which we sat. 49
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Our friend apologized for its age, for the table had sat in that same place since they had built their home decades ago. But then she started recalling the importance that simple table had played in their lives. It
was meant to be temporary, stained with coffee, wine, life. It had seen
their son grow from an infant to a young man. It had seen so many years
of joy, and so many days of sadness. It had heard countless stories of
the past, and had been there while planning for the future. It had been a
circle of memory for friends now gone.
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Their son has now left, living his life elsewhere. They are no longer young. Many of their plans have come and gone. But the table remains at
the heart of their happiness, and I suspect it will be there for many
years to come.
“It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make
women. At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our
children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we
put ourselves back together once again at the table. This table has been
a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.”
An excerpt from Perhaps the world ends here – Joy Harjo