On kitchen tables…

Yesterday’s Poets & Writers prompt was to muse about our kitchen tables – the food, voices and thoughts they have experienced.  Odd, since most of us do not have a kitchen table anymore.  Generally, we have ‘dining room’ tables.

The prompt though, took me back to my mother’s table (in the kitchen, of course).  I have written about it more than once already and since her death, I’ve sat there often in my dreams.

Her table filled most of the kitchen floor space.  It was typically sprinkled with flour, scarred and scratched, spattered with finger paints or spilled milk.  Not a chair matched, nor did the extension leaf made by one of my brothers in shop class.  And always, in the middle of the table rested a crusted sugar bowl shaped like a red apple.

In her cramped, cozy kitchen the table was as much counter as eating area – a place to roll out ravioli dough or decorate butter cookies.  With no desk in the house, it was also where we did our homework (my book reports often stained with sauce or grease) and played Slap Jack or Chinese Checkers.  And once a month, it was where my father would set down the mysterious green lock-box and pay the family bills.  A cigarette dangling from his lips, it was one of the few times we would ever hear him curse, “Jumpin’ Jehasaphat and all his little disciples!”

I go back to that kitchen table often (didn’t really need the prompt), but now when I envision it, I sit there with my mother and we are both grown women.  We drink coffee and share recipes, books we’re reading, family gossip while eating banana nut bread topped with her famous pineapple cream cheese spread.

From the plump red apple, Mom stirs three heaping spoonfuls of sugar into her mug.  She lights a Pall Mall, spits out a fleck of tobacco, blows smoke rings toward the ceiling and says, “Stay…have another cup of coffee.”


About hereisakiss

Daughter Writer Art's Educator
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7 Responses to On kitchen tables…

  1. Don Lowe says:

    Beautiful! I remember the men — my father and a friend usually — having coffee around the kitchen table. Mom would join them after they were served. They’d flick the ashes (my father smoked Camels; Audie Bergstad, Salem’s) into the the cuffs of their pants. But not before “saucering” their coffee — painstakingly pouring the coffee into the saucer then carefully pouring it back into the cup to cool it. I don’t remember ever seeing a drop spilled. Thank you for this one, Elizabeth. Love your writing. Don Lowe

    • hereisakiss says:

      Saucering?? Never heard of it, but love love love the idea of it! And the ashes in the cuffs! As disgusting as it sounds, I remember both my parents putting out their cigarettes on the side of their dinner plates or dropping them into the dregs of their coffee. Yuck!

  2. dale says:

    I spent alot of time at Mrs. Warren’s house down at the lake as her son was getting the house ready to put on the market. When the kitchen table left the house, so did Mrs. Warren’s happy spirit. So many happy times around that table.

    • hereisakiss says:

      Dale…Yes, I understand what you mean about the spirit of a person leaving with certain belongings. I remember many happy times (and a few not-so-happy times also)…

  3. newparadym says:

    Can’t remember a time when we did not have a kitchen table, growing up and throughout my life. This is always the table with the strongest gravitational pull, largely because something is always cooking in the kitchen. Any way you slice it. And all this shared time, shared work, leaves a trail, a firm and lasting imprint. The kitchen table is a memory vessel, a place where our shared lives are gathered and knitted, a place where we come to rest and attend to each other.

    Love you and your posts, my friend.

    • hereisakiss says:

      I love how you put it to words…the gravitational pull, always. In our house now, the dining room table (not in the kitchen) is where friends and family tend to gather. The living room is warm, cozy and comfortable yet still when folks visit, we seem to fill in around the table. And we also have an unfinished leaf (I love it)! Thanks for the sharing…

      Is this Ngoma??

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