The old wooden folding table belonged to my grandma. I don’t remember her ever using it.
After she moved out of her house and into a retirement home, my sister inherited the table, but she didn’t use it much either. The table has four wooden folding chairs that tuck beneath it and the whole thing rolls on casters. My husband, Peter, and I are moving to be closer to family and we don’t have a serviceable table for our new place.
“Bring the folding table when you come,” I told my sister. “We’ll use it until we find a new table.”
Peter and I were ready to move our furniture when we learned the moving truck had broken down on the way to our house, delaying the move. So Peter stayed behind to help load the truck when it finally arrived, and I flew ahead to meet the movers. I spent four nights in a sleeping bag on the floor, but when my parents and my sister came to visit, they brought the table.
Peter and I did not spend Christmas 2019 with my family, but rushed home to see his sister, Lori, who was very ill. We thought it might be her last Christmas. We were wrong. We celebrated the next Christmas with her before she died. And I did not see my family again until this past week, 17 months later, when they arrived with my grandma’s old table.
“It’s been so long,” everyone kept saying.
I got lost leading them out of the parking garage and we ended up taking the heavy wooden folding table on a tour of the neighborhood. The table rattled along on its 75-year-old casters and made a heck of a racket as we rolled by the Church of Scientology.
My dad was laughing. “Do we even know where we’re going?”
“Do you think someone is catching this on a security camera,” my sister questioned.
I felt as if I had not been away for 17 months — or even a day.
On Saturday, our furniture finally arrived, and on Sunday morning, still surrounded by boxes, I discovered we were within earshot of three churches with bell towers. I sat out on our little balcony in the sunshine and called Peter.
“All the bells are ringing,” I told him.
My parents and sister came to visit one more time before I left, and this time they brought along my brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. My niece is now completely grown up and my nephew went from being a child to a teenager while I was away.
I had tied brightly colored seat cushions onto the old wooden folding chairs and my mother didn’t recognize them.
“Those aren’t the same chairs,” she said, amazed.
“They are,” I told her. “They just perked up when they got a change of scenery.”
Peter still hasn’t seen this new place we bought during the pandemic, and I know he still has some trepidation. But I am feeling so much better. It is good to be closer to family. We will be able to see more of our old friends and both Peter’s relatives and mine. We’re looking forward to trying new restaurants and riding our bikes and doing a lot of things we haven’t done in a long time.
Of course, there will be things we will miss. But right now, I’m feeling like one of my grandma’s old wooden folding chairs, all decked out in a fancy new seat cushion.
I’m thinking a change of scenery will do us both a world of good.