Last night, after a series of events, the pie safe and kitchen table pictured here were reunited.
The table has been in my family for over a hundred years. It was my great grandmother's, and then my mother's, and it was the table I sat at to do homework and eat supper everyday as a child. Each black water stain that shows through its stone maple grain was my fault.
The pie safe was a gift from my uncle John when we were very poor. I'm not sure why he bought it for her, but it came at a time when we didn't have very much and nothing new. It was a piece of furniture my mom took pride in. It was a bright presence, despite its dark wood, in our similarly brown and dark trailer.
I was given the pie safe when I graduated college. I used it in my first apartment as a toy chest, filled with toy guns and ironing boards and Smurfs and Motown California Raisins. In my next apartment, it was a pantry. Its contents were among some of the first signs of evidence of my choice to live a healthier life. In the Treehaus, it was a fully stocked bar and then later, a wardrobe. In the Perry Building, it spent several years in the basement as storage for home-canned goods and then for the last year as a bookshelf in the living room.
My Mom got remarried on January 8th and moved into a new house. Jen and I went down for the wedding and we rented a truck to bring back the table. It's been in the basement for a couple weeks, but last night we brought it up and also moved the pie safe into the dining room. This morning as I sat drinking coffee and reading over cookbooks, I found it a strange comfort to be back in their company. I treasure these two unexpectedly. The childhood they represent is one from which I distanced myself as soon as I got the chance. But gently, they invite me to reconsider that distance — to reunite the past with the present; to change and also stay myself.