With Thanksgiving in the air, I am given to reminiscing about some of my favorite meals. I don’t recall most of them, not the food exactly and sometimes I’m not sure about the company, but what has remained are the feelings. Feelings from those meals have embedded themselves into my soul. You see, I’ve gotten rather sentimental about the kitchen table over the years. Ever since the first time it dawned on me, life happens at the kitchen table.
There have been tears at the kitchen table, laughter and confessions. Some of the great philosophical questions have been discussed and mused. Stories have been told. And during many of those moment’s, we’ve nourished our souls.
Growing up, my family lingered at the kitchen table after dinner was over. No one ever in a hurry to interrupt the flow of conversation. Family reunions? Just make sure there was a pot of coffee and room for everyone to pull up a chair.
When we moved into our house three years ago, I was intent on one room, the dining room. I had dreams of infusing laughter and friendship into the walls. And if I do say so myself, I’m doing pretty good.
This past year alone, my lovely table has been wonderfully inundated with friends and family. Homework and play dough. We’ve made homemade pasta and rolled out cookie dough. We’ve made sushi and sandwiches. And I want to thank those of you who have joined us around our table, it’s been a privilege. And to those who have yet to join us, we look forward to the day.
So my friends, a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And please indulge me as I share one of my favorite poems that seems apropos this time of year as we all sit down to a table and share a meal.
Perhaps the World Ends Here By Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
“Perhaps the World Ends Here” from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo.