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Great-Grandmother’s Oak Table

Is it possible to feel emotional towards a piece of furniture?

We own an antique oak table which came from Mullins, Texas, my great-grandmother’s house. It must have been over 75 years old when Mom and Dad brought it home. I was in Junior High. My parents passed it to me when I married eleven years later. My husband rebuilt part of the base, which had rotted from being stored in a barn. The top has worm trails and puncture holes, which he meticulously filled with wood putty. I stopped him and dug out most of the putty before it dried, telling him I wanted every crack and hole to remain as they were. He visualized a smooth and shiny honey-colored oak top, with a new finish. My vision was completely different. “It has character,” I said. He added six layers of varnish on the top and glued the under skirt, but it hangs loose. I still like the imperfections.


We eat an early breakfast there every morning at this round table, my husband and I, before the kids wake. It’s usually the only time of day we have each others undivided attention. My mom and my oldest son worked on a craft project together and nothing will remove those dried spots of glue. The many, many layers of varnish are worn off now. Maybe I should refinish it at some point?  Probably not.

This old oak table has four chairs, but we can easily fit seven. I think about the generations of souls who have gathered around it. I wonder about their joys, their bitter weepings, their stories left untold. It’s the place for serious family discussions, heaping plates of spaghetti, laughter, and early morning Bible studies. Reflection. Silence.

From my place at the old oak table I can see the television, who is sitting in the living room, a pot boiling on the stove, and the barn swallows riding the ceiling fan blades on the patio. It sounds crazy to think an inanimate object can have character and become a treasured part of my family, important to everyone who lives here, but it’s true.

Even Kitty feels safe and secure beside the old oak table.


All photos by N. Bright.

Natalie Cline Bright is a blogger, hobby photographer, speaker and author of the fun, historical western TROUBLE IN TEXAS series for middle grades is a great read for the entire family, and the RESCUE ANIMAL series features true stories about horses.  Read about Natalie’s grandmother and her cherry salad recipe, recently selected for “THE WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom” (TwoDot Publishing, June 2017). Read the bargain novella MAGGIE’S BETRAYAL, a dark, dramatic women’s fiction set on historic Route 66 of the 1930s, and selected for the anthology OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66.