They took the table in the morning. Two hefty moving men who were working in a nearby apartment and agreed to find it a new home. I had had it on Craigslist (for best offer) but got nothing but scammers, so the appearance of these gracious gentle giants was a blessing. The new furniture was scheduled for delivery at 12:30. Carefully they lifted the table around the living room corner and out the door – and only then did I realize I was not ready to say goodbye. Most of life had been lived around that table for the past 26 years. I wanted to run after the moving men and say, “No! Wait!! I changed my mind!!”
Who knew grief could come with such a wallop?
And why was I so unprepared? Had I not had the table on Craigslist for a week, and had I not talked with a half-dozen nonprofits who might be able to pick it up next month?
The table needs to go today, though, because the new furniture is arriving. New furniture chosen in the early weeks of this thing called widowhood. When images of a quarter-century of happiness around a clunky old oak table were an unformed abstract.
As I remarked to countless friends in recent weeks, the only big, clunky thing I ever really loved was Bud. I did not love our big, clunky old furniture. So it had seemed perfectly reasonable to send the aged sofa, chair, giant oblong desk/table etc off to new homes via the San Francisco Recology people and go select some lovely new pieces at Pottery Barn. (“You want to spend a lot of money fast?” I also remarked more than once; “get my daughter Sandy to go with you to Pottery Barn.”)
Before the new furniture arrived I had a long-scheduled interview for a newspaper story I was writing. As soon as it was in place there was a San Francisco Contemporary Music Players concert – with the weekend’s concerts dedicated to my good husband. There was very little time to mourn the table. Life goes on, and it is a wonderful life.
Still. At that table for happy decades every morning started with coffee and the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle (print editions.)
Around that table friends gathered for drinks, meals, conversation. Bud posed Tonto, his 1930s childhood doll, for a portrait. Martinis were served. Grandchildren now grown sat in highchairs while the grown-ups had a cold beer. Hands were held as prayers (multi-faith grace at meals for the most part) were said. Goodnights were declared.
Somewhere, for sure, the sturdy oak table is finding a new, happy home for its next half-century or so. May it rest in peace.
Dear Fran, I loved this beautiful tribute to Bud and the table! It left me thinking for a long while.
Sorry it didn’t work out for the 17th or 18th. Would love to see you! I think it would be easier for me to visit you if I could have a parking space in the Carlton entryway if they still allow that. Because of my walker, it’s challenging for me to deal with street parking. Or, I could pick you up and we could do lunch at a restaurant or my house.
June is crazy busy for me. Wondering what your July is looking like? Take care and keep writing. I could read your work all the day long.
On Sat, May 18, 2019 at 11:08 PM Fran Moreland Johns wrote:
> Fran Johns posted: ” They took the table in the morning. Two hefty moving > men who were working in a nearby apartment and agreed to find it a new > home. I had had it on Craigslist (for best offer) but got nothing but > scammers, so the appearance of these gracious gentle giants” >
You are a remarkable woman Fran. It is an honor to know you.