A Place at the Table

By Marcelle Soviero, "A Place at the Table," September/October 2012

An essay on what happens when the heart of the home disappears.

As the renovation continues, I’ve missed our meals more than I expected to. I don’t like the Chinese takeout—each of us receiving a different dish. I like eating the same meal together, and Eric and I never allowed ourselves to become short-order cooks catering to different childish palates. I miss setting the table and lighting the candles each evening, and folding napkins that finally make it to the children’s laps.

I tell myself we’re doing the right thing spending all this money on a larger kitchen that can fit the 10-foot table, made from reclaimed pine, that we bought long ago. Soon enough, we’ll turn in the takeout menus and return to Eric’s braised lamb chops or seven-layer lasagna. But for now the table is in storage and there’s a hole in the floor where the stove should be.

As another wall gets whacked, I imagine the memories and moments stored within the cracks of these plaster walls and I think about how I want this kitchen to always be the place my children return to. A place to enjoy all the suppers and holidays still to come. Too, I imagine how years from now they might come back here after life’s adventures lead them away. How I’ll want them to return and gather around the big wooden table, well worn from years of meals and good conversation.

Connecticut writer Marcelle Soviero’s kitchen is finally complete.

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