The Table

Posted: September 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Hoarding, Husbandry, Mom, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

Mark predicted it would happen.

The table was an antique, but it was rickety and lame. On its journey from the East Coast one of its legs came loose. So Mark took it down to his basement workbench lair to work his handyman magic.

Once the glue set, we turned it upright and set it in our entryway. But when we stepped back to admire it, we saw that the now-sturdy leg had been glued on crooked.

It was like the table was determined to be imperfect.

But many of my mother’s possessions were that way. To wash clothes at her house you set the dial to a line she’d drawn on the machine’s control panel. (God knows how much trial and error it took to find the exact spot that resulted in a well-washed load.)

Anyway, by the point we noticed the leg was all dooky, there was no way to break it off and reset it. And unless you stared at it, you’d never notice.

So, we sort of propped it up. Mark rolled his eyes. But how do you argue about your wife’s dead mother’s table? He insisted it wouldn’t last long, and agreed that we could keep it there while it did.

The thing is, there’s a glacier-sized expanse in our basement that’s packed floor to ceiling with most of Mom’s former furniture. End tables, chairs, a kitchen table, a hope chest, and endless endless endless linens. Things that either don’t look right with our other stuff, we don’t really need, or that just don’t fit in this small house. Things I imagine I’ll spread around our dream manse one day, thrilled I had the good sense to store them all these years.

So, even in its lame duck state, I was delighted we could wedge something of Mom’s into active duty.

The story, of course, leads to a crash, right? A deafening, frightening crash that I heard just as I stepped onto the sidewalk. I was fetching grocery bags from the car and had left Paige roaming free-range indoors.

I flew up the stairs, dove into the house, and saw Paige unscathed on the living room rug, cradling a doll and blinking up at my terror innocently. Then at my feet I saw two overturned potted orchids, a bottle of wine I’d set out for my sister, and an overdue library book. Oh, and the table itself, pitched forward onto the floor, with two of its legs snapped off and lying amidst the other detritus.

I hadn’t even touched the thing as I’d walked out the door. It only took the slightest waft of air to have it crumble. For it to give in to its broke-down nature.

I couldn’t bear to deal with it. Could I have gotten it fixed? Probably. Could I have saved its parts, if only because they were Mom’s? The thoughts crossed my mind. But I fought the deepest pack-rat part of my soul. I pushed aside the instinct that I have to hoard even pom-pommed tennis socks and baggy-kneed PJ bottoms because they were my mom’s.

So when Mark came home, he carried it out the front door, around the house, and set it alongside the garbage cans.

When I emptied the recycling bin the next day I saw it there. I considered hauling it back inside. I considered putting a FREE sign on it. But then I got distracted, went in, and forgot.

Yesterday morning, I hauled a toxic overfull diaper-pail bag to the trash. And as I heaved the thing into the can (using my porta-potty mouth breathing technique), I looked down to see that the table was gone.


Mom’s old table. Scuttled off by some delighted sidewalk scavenger. Swallowed up by the city. Never to be seen again.

No Comments »

Leave a Reply