We Eat Here, Too

We got a good deal for our table 
from a guy right down the street. 
He even delivered it for us. 
It's solid and if you bang your knee against 
the inside frame just under the table top
you'll swear you hate the thing. 
The top needs refinishing, but kids, 
so we'll leave it. 
And we have left it that way, 
scratched and stained,
losing  a little color each day.
They protest when we discuss a new finish
I protest at the work it will take 
only to have it scuffed and smeared with, 
life. 
I fuss at everyone who doesn't use a coaster, 
but why bother? 
The kids say it adds character. 
And it does.
There's space for 6 or 8 or 12 or more, 
we've stopped counting. 
We manage to squeeze ourselves in 
when friends and family visit. 
Taking turns sitting at the table, 
much like we did at Nana's. 
It's held up well.
Sophia's first birthday, the first big event
It's hosted countless others
Visits from Mom and Dad along with Dad's pile of newspapers, 
notes, pens, reading glasses, 
mugs of his piping hot coffee 
and a small mountain of Mom's tamales.
Halloween parties
Tortilla making lessons
A birthday candle lined with Tacky Glue, 
sprinkled with gold glitter and sequins.
My best friend's graduation party.
Homemade pizzas--
so many homemade pizzas.
Writing sticks of all shapes and colors
Spilled bowls of Cheerios
5 layer Play-Doh cakes
Mixology experiments: 
Mexican martinis, 
wine-usually red, 
blackberry margaritas, 
strawberry mojitos, 
and the good anniversary crystal 
bubbling with cheap champagne.
An almost empty wine glass, a red ornament,
and a red pear gnawed with a little kid’s bite 
protesting “Mommy I didn’t like it!”
adorns the end of a 
"fancy" Christmas dinner. 
That night we used a tablecloth.
Snow days with pancake breakfasts.
Piles of papers that needed grading.
Homework--
the kids' and mine.
Hours of graduate school assignments
Science fair and craft projects
LEGO builds and chatter
Family game nights
A thick smear of blue paint from a 
Halloween costume making session
and nail polish drips I couldn't remove.
Gingerbread house building parties 
that stopped because we outgrew the table and 
got so darned busy taking kids to 
holiday related school activities.
GNO get togethers
where we all sit around and color,
jars of colored pencils, pens, and markers 
snaking down the center of the table.
Pandemic teaching
Online Sunday night meetings 
with family across the miles.
Writing 
every morning, 
at least three pages, 
with a coffee mug by my side.
Asking for and giving grace.
They say home is where the heart is.
Ours gather around this table
where we live and breathe,
hope and dream.
And sometimes,
we eat here, too.

5 thoughts on “We Eat Here, Too

  1. An incredible first Slice, Alice! Thank you for sharing your talent with us. Looking forward to more Tuesdays with your eloquent writing!

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  2. What a fabulous space for you and the people who are most important to you to gather!

    Our kitchen table sounds a bit like the description of yours. We’re planning to get a new one once our kids get a bit older. Seems kinda pointless to invest in a new one right now when they’re both under ten.

    ALSO, welcome to our writing community. Your comment got stuck in moderation so I just saw your slice of life story now. I’ll keep an eye out for it next Tuesday to make sure it doesn’t sit there. (Typically, the first time one leaves a comment on TWT it gets held for moderation.)

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  3. This is a powerful slice, Alice! Love the way you begin with the physicality of the table and then shift into all the ways it is “scuffed and smeared with, life.” So much more than a table. Thank you for sharing today.

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  4. Oh! Welcome! And what a wonderful way to join this community. This poem is everything. I teach 12th grade English in Ontario (well, and other stuff, but we’re in a quadmester situation & this quad is grade 12) and we started last week with a “Where I’m From” poem then moved rapidly into personal narrative. One of my prompts asked them to remember a place but describe it by things that happened there, not necessarily what it looked like. Your beautiful poem is exactly that. With your permission, I would love to share it with them. As we think about what has shaped us into who we are, this poem could be a great guide. Also, I’m inspired to go back into what I was writing (which was prose) about my grandma’s kitchen table & see what I can do with it. Just – wow – thanks for this post.

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    1. Hi Amanda! Oh, my goodness, by all means, please share with your students! I’m now an elementary school librarian, but I miss teaching secondary students. I especially miss teaching writing and I’m glad this might inspire some of your students-and you 🙂

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