The old wooden folding table belonged to my grandmother. I don’t remember she ever used it.
After leaving her home to move 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 slide underneath 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 usable table for our new location.
“Bring the folding table when you come,” I said to my sister. “We will use it until we find a new table!”
Peter and I were ready to move our furniture when we learned that the moving truck had broken down on the way to our house, delaying the move. So Peter stayed to help load the truck when it finally arrived, and I got on the plane to meet the movers. I spent four nights in a sleeping bag on the floor, but when my parents and sister came to visit, they brought the table.
Peter and I didn’t spend Christmas 2019 with my family, but we did rush home to see his sister, Lori, who was very ill. We thought it might be his last Christmas. We were wrong. We celebrated next Christmas with her before her death. And I only saw my family again last week, 17 months later, when they arrived with my grandmother’s old table.
“It’s been so long!” everyone kept saying.
I got lost leading them out of the parking lot and we ended up taking the heavy wooden folding table to walk around the neighborhood. The table shook on its 75-year-old casters and made a hell of a racket as we rolled past the Church of Scientology.
My father was laughing. “Do we even know where we are going ?!”
“Do you think someone is catching this on a security camera?” my sister asked.
I felt like I hadn’t been away for 17 months – maybe even a day.
On Saturday, our furniture finally arrived, and on Sunday morning, still surrounded by boxes, I discovered that we were within earshot of three churches with spiers. I sat on our little balcony in the sun and called Peter.
“All the bells are ringing!” I told him.
My parents and sister came to visit me once more before I left, and this time they brought my brother-in-law, my niece and my nephew. My niece is now fully grown and my nephew has gone from being a child to a teenager while I was away.
I had attached brightly colored seat cushions to the old wooden folding chairs and my mother did not recognize them.
“They are not the same chairs! she said, astonished.
“They are!” I told him. “They woke up when they changed the scenery!”
Peter still hasn’t seen this new place we bought during the pandemic, and I know he still has some trepidation. But I feel so much better. It’s good to be closer to the family. We will be able to see more of our old friends and Peter’s parents and mine. We can’t wait to try new restaurants, ride bikes, and do a lot of things we haven’t done in a long time.
Of course, there will be things that we will miss. But right now, I feel like one of my grandmother’s old wooden folding chairs, all decked out in a sleek new seat cushion.
I think a change of scenery will do us both good.
Carrie Classon’s memoirs are called Blue wire. Learn more about CarrieClasson.com.