1975-Table number two appears out of no where. Well, not literally, but my father had no idea. I remember coming home from school to a big truck in the driveway. Men just leaving.
my mother’s hands
Gently caressing the silky top
From her big
“Well, Sher, what do you think? My first purchase with my own money!”, my mother smiled wide.
“It’s neat,” I reply, “does Dad know?”
“No, but he will love it,” she says.
I walk to my room and begin my homework and put on some music. I am well into my work when I hear the words spew from my father’s mouth.
“Vivy! What the hell is this? Where is my table?
no time to talk
to even explain
He blew in like a hurricane
and left like a tornado
destroying every ounce
of my mothers
My memories of this table exist on so many levels. Engagement celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries to name a few. I remember making Christmas cookies here by myself, and celebrating my sweet 16. I remember Paul and Tammy’s engagement dinner, Cindy and Shelly’s welcome home dinner. So many parties and celebrations of life. I made my rice bags for my wedding at this table. Placed my first home cooked meal-burnt just a bit upon this table. Had my first glass of wine here, played cards, games and did puzzles on it. My Cody sat upon my mother’s lap at this table celebrating his first birthday. So many family and friends around it, so filled with love. It was my mothers table.
2006-Many years have past. New memories were created at that table but none surpass those with my mother. I am in my home when I call up my father.
“Dad, it’s me. I was wondering if I could have mother’s table?”
“What are you talking about? I use that table, Sheri.”
“I know Dad, but Bonnie (his wife of 16 years now) has her own table she wants to use, Dad, please. I don’t have one since I got divorced, and I would love to have her table.”
The conversation goes on and on like this for a long time. When at last he says, “What are you trying to do? Rob my grave? I’m not even dead yet.”
I hang up
I give up
Day I can
Sit at my
Tables are where memories are made. Where every dream and disappointment is shared. It’s where we grow and learn, listen and laugh. Tables are the places we learned our manners. They are the first place we remember learning patience, “please”, “thank you” and “may I be excused”. They hold the excitement of setting it with china during the holidays and special occasions. They hold the dreams of candles being blown out in anticipation of a new year. They hold the wish that it is always filled with children, grandchildren, family and friends. Each time we set it, we anticipate the meal and conversations to come. Each time we clean them we brush into our hands the shared moments of our lives.
At my table
Now 5 years old
It is beginning to
I will once
Sit at my mothers table
Glide my hand
Across the top
“Mom, your table is finally home…”
1975-The three of us eat in the dusty silence at my mother’s new table. When dinner is finished she rises and goes to her room. My father sits upon the sofa in the dimly lit shadows of the house he built. I get up and start cleaning up the table. As I begin rinsing the dishes to go in to the dishwasher, my mother appears. I turn and she gently pushes me aside and begins my task. As she rinses I take each piece from her hand and load up the dishwasher. She is starring out of the window behind the sink into the mars black night. Her eyes are damp and her movements in slow motion.
A rhythm develops for a few moments when out of the corner of my eye I see it begin.
Goes the tangerine bowl,
She is falling faster than
I can move.
Head hitting first
Then the rest of her
Small frame clunking
Upon the linoleum.
“MOM,” I scream.
2010-Studio-The wood canvas is large and rough. Measuring 3 1/2’ x 4’. I find the mass of it comforting. The rough, desert brown cedar takes me back to my angled closet under the red wooden steps. I dip the brush in various blues and slap on some violet, turquoise and lavender. I can see light peeking through the cracks in the steps, so I paint God’s radiant glow coming from the upper right hand corner. His love beckons the multicolored fish who are all swimming towards the light. Their eyes are red from fear, yet their bodies hold the colors from my mother’s closet and father’s ties.
The steps begin to shake as big feet take them two at a time. The movement causes dirt and sand to fall like heavy, dirty snow. It coats the fish and their colors are defined by heavy black lines. The waving seagrass straightens up to protect the baby minnows and give them a solid hiding spot. The royal purple seagrass stands out amongst the forest green stalks. The fish look like tiny stained glass windows and as I step back and gaze at this solid, liquid canvas of safety, the name, “Sunday School,” enters my mind and I remember the soft light which shone through the tiny windows in the small room in the basement of our church.
I FEEL HOME AND I FEEL SAFE.