A while back, while telling you how I had made more counter space in my kitchen by using my dining room table, I mentioned the marks on the dining room table that were left there by Ty’s grandparents. Lisa asked to see the pictures of these marks, so today I am sharing those “blemishes” and the story behind them.
When Grandma Flo (as we lovingly called her) was dying, she requested we get her dining room table and chairs. She had rescued them from an old country church, painstakingly refinished them, and then fed her family round that table for many years. We were quite pleased to receive such a family heirloom, and as soon as we moved from our tiny apartment to a house, we brought the table home.
For many years, the table was only kept for special occasions. We had another table and chairs my parents had purchased at an estate auction that we used full time for meals and school. Our family was small (and for 2 years, Ty was deployed), so the big dining room table seemed like overkill.
The next time we moved, we had 3 children and no room to bring both tables, so we offloaded the set we had been using and made the Grandma Flo’s table our full time dining table.
The table came with 3 leaves, but one was warped. For my birthday one year, Ty had 3 more leaves made, but we quickly realized the gears in the table were stressed and were not moving as they should. There also wasn’t any center support, so when we gathered up enough money, we took it to a local antique restoration shop, and had a center leg put on, the gears reworked, and added some scrollwork that was missing on the side of the table.
However, at Ty’s specific request, the marks left by his grandparents were to remain sealed into the wood. A memorial to their legacy. A testimony to his heritage.
The water glass stain left by his grandfather:
The cigarette burns left by his grandmother:
The table had seen long hours of playing cards and I’m sure more than it’s fair share of off-color jokes, but that’s not what these marks mean to Ty. They mean grandparents who, despite their own meager earnings, always had enough to share with strangers. They mean grandparents who took time for grandchildren.
They are a legacy, a key to the past, a lesson for the future.
The Bible tells us to HONOR our fathers and our mothers. I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to say we should also honor our grandfathers and our grandmothers.
Sometimes when those relatives are not Christians or are a little rough around the edges or are downright ugly, we think we are exempt from the whole honor thing. But, I don’t think we are. I think when we have off-color relatives, we just have to be a bit more creative about HOW we honor them, but honor them we must.
We leave the cigarette burns in the table, not because we want our children to take up smoking, but because they are a piece of Grandma. A grandma only one of my children remembers. When we talk about the cigarette burns, we don’t dwell on the cigarettes, we tell the stories of many, many poor wayfarers who found refuge and a good meal prepared by Grandma’s hand and eaten around that table. We dwell on her generosity.
The fact that she was a little rough doesn’t negate the lessons my children can learn from her legacy.
So, tell your stories. Give your children the good, the bad, and the ugly. They all have lessons. They are all a piece of our children’s heritage.