by Tab Moura
My mom was an antique lover, so we all knew how much she loved the dining room table that my grandparents passed down to her. Suddenly realizing how this system worked, a fight ensued between one of my brothers and me. We both felt it should be ours next, and when you have four siblings, these fights can get, well, a little heated.
In 1997 (of course I know the year) my brother decided to carve his name into one of the leafs of our mom’s table. It wasn’t huge, but to eight-year-old Tab, it was a really aggressive gesture —I knew what to do next.
You guessed it,
I carved my name near his,
But I haven’t even gotten to the good part.
A year later our family moved to a new state. We soon made friends and had them over for dinner. My mom laughed and made one of those faces that moms make (you know, when they are laughing about something they are still mad about,) and she explained to our new friends why two of her kids’ names were on the table. “Oh, they called dibs on the table for when we die.”
I felt miserably uncomfortable. I melted into my chair and escaped to go play as soon as I could. One of the kids visiting us was my age, and he was the only kid in our grade who had kissed a girl already. He wouldn’t talk to me, and I was busy looking as strong and independent as possible, so I was the last one to realize that at some point, that boy had taken a butter knife to our table and signed it himself! But he didn’t stop there, he chiseled a heart between our names also. I was mortified, his mom was mortified. But you know what? We became instant friends that night.
When I go home to visit my parents, I like to sit at that table and smile about how much life has happened since 1997. Things didn’t work out with the bad-boy who signed my mom’s table, but while sitting there I am flooded with memories. Like the first time I brought my husband to my parents’ house, we all sat at mom’s table and laughed telling him the story about the names. Some items are time machines, because of that table I can see the thread that weaves through my life, it’s something spiritual to behold. Why else would a couple of kids carve their names into wood? How else can we explain that a table can be so important?