Wednesday, September 09, 2015

THE TABLE

I don’t exactly remember when the glass top to moms table broke. It left a beautiful base, antiqued gold leaf on plaster of Paris, shaped like scrolls or waves; I always figured to replace the glass. It sat in the living room a few years, a piece of plywood and a cloth replacing the glass with a lamp on top. A newer table arrived, and moms old gold table  was demoted to the den. A year later, further reduced to a third bedroom.

The plywood warped and the cloth got dirty, and somewhere along the way it wound up in the garage.
A move later, and no garage, it went to the back porch. I guess it has been on back porches now for eleven years of its forty-seven year life.
Mom bought it for the house on Hillview, the first house we lived in after moving to Hurst from Detroit in 1968.


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I just cleaned off the porch today. It was warped beyond belief; cracked too, from the weather, and there really wasn’t much antique gold leaf left on it. It was more like green.
I slung it over my shoulder and trucked it out to the dumpster.
There was an old grey man by the dumpster, loading Miller Lite into an ice chest.
I walked past him, lifted the table over the edge of the dumpster and unceremoniously let it fall.
Inside of ten seconds, standing there, I reviewed the life of the table, much as I just narrated it for you in the post. I thought of the house on Hillview, Levitz Furnishings out on Camp Bowie, the home decorator that mom had hired, all the places the table had been, all the times I nearly bought a glass for it, and two years ago when I last still held some hope that I might salvage the forgotten table.
And of course I thought about mom. It’s really amazing how far your mind can race in ten seconds.
I turned from the dumpster to walk back to my apartment.
There is the old man with the beer.
“How you doing?” he says.
“I’m Ok.” I says.
I kept walking, then I stopped and turned back around.
“I’ve had that table quite some time. About 30 years I figure. It’s beyond repair, but I just hung on to it”
“He looked up from icing his beer.
I continued, “I always figured to fix that table. But it’s hopeless. It’s time to let it go.”
I laughed, and he laughed too. I could see a sense of identification on his face.
I turned and started back to my apartment. I got three steps and turned around.
“It was my mom’s table, you know?”
He smiled and nodded.
I turned again, got three steps, and turned around.
“Every year that goes by, there is one thing less that I have that was hers”
He looked at me closer, with kindly eyes, and nodded his head.
I turned again, got three steps, and turned around.
“I can’t help but think I let her down on that table.”

I could see his mind racing; the way mine had just a moment before. I wish I could tell you what he was thinking, or that this story has some nice neat end to it, but I can’t and it doesn’t.
“No son” he said “Don’t you be thinking that at all.”
“Thank you sir” and I turned and went back inside my apartment while he went back to icing his beer.

1 comment:

SL said...

The war that goes through your mind on your way back from the donation center/dumpster is such a tough one. In the end, you know it's just about the love you shared, not the stuff. Love this story Bullets!