Grandma's Table (Faithfulness)
Grandma Floy's dining table was beautiful on ordinary days. Solid oak and shining it sat in Grandma and Grandpa's dining room and matched the oak wainscoting which drew the eye two-thirds of the way up the walls to a shelf that contained fascinating knick-knacks—safely out of reach of little hands.
On Thanksgiving, however, the table transformed from beautiful to magnificent. With its additional five leaves it could easily seat twelve (fourteen if we squeezed). Sometimes an additional table was added at the end with a kiddie table in the living room. Grandma's lace tablecloths covered every surface and the good china, silver and crystal emerged from some secret hideaway.
Family and friends filled every chair, faithful as the seasons. Some years Grandpa would drive downtown and pick up one or two homeless men and add them to the mix. Vast quantities of food emerged from Grandma's kitchen. But before we could touch anything, we would bow our heads and Grandma would ask the blessing, thanking God for His faithfulness and bounty. Then the passing began and never stopped. You had to grab bites of food before the next dish came by. Grandma knew whenever anyone was low on something and made sure they got a refill. She also served a big bowl of black pitted olives so all the kids could have one for each finger. It was an amazing thing to behold and the memory is etched in my heart.
When Grandma died, I inherited the table with the condition that I would take over Thanksgiving dinner (my mother was a smart one). I was young and enthusiastic and thrilled to get this table filled with childhood memories. I didn't think through just how many Thanksgivings lay ahead of me. Well, now I know. There have been thirty-five.
Some years the table with five leaves was big enough. Others the patio table was added to the end to accommodate more. I don't believe we ever did a kiddie table—we managed to cram them in somewhere. Over the years faces changed. The kids grew up, we became middle-aged, our parents hair turned gray. One by one they slipped away. Parents and relatives passed from this life and left us with empty chairs and saddened hearts. Children left home and were often busy or far away for Thanksgiving. For a few years there were only a handful of people at the table. Then our oldest son married and Grandma's Thanksgiving table filled again. Babies came and friends arrived and the table was once again laden.
Last year, however, turned out to be the last year. This year we are going to my son Matt's house. I can't say I'm unhappy about passing the baton. I have a heart full of memories of the dear ones gathered at Grandma's table. It's still beautiful after all these years and perfect for the Christmas jigsaw puzzle.
Matt, our oldest, inherited my mother's dining table with its two double-sized leaves. James, our youngest, will inherit my Grandma's table (he has to wait!). I hope they are both able to look back someday, stand amazed at the faithfulness of God and cherish the memories of all the Thanksgivings at their family tables.