In the years I lived in small-town Nebraska, I would make an occasional foray to a farmhouse and one thing that nearly every one of them had in common was an impressive dining table, big enough to seat a large household, and often quite beautiful. When I bought my first home, a 1930s kit-bungalow (I was just the third owner), it had a beautiful large dining room. I had a tiny table, one perfect for a small apartment kitchen, and it was dwarfed in that spacious dining room. That Christmas, my parent's gift to me was money for a dining room table.
And so it was that I set out on a quest for my own farmhouse table. At an antique store outside of Norfolk, Nebraska, I found the perfect specimen. It was a square, oak table with substantial turned legs and four additional leaves.
Opened to it's full-width, the table can comfortably seat 12 people (pictured here with just two leaves, it can easily seat 6).
Built at the turn of the century, the table had been carefully preserved; the finish was in excellent condition. In 1997, it was a bargain at $400. I can't even begin to estimate it's worth in 2009 dollars. Perhaps that's because to me it is priceless.
This table, set in the center of my warm yellow dining room, is really the center of my home; a part of every day of our lives. It's generally held up well (my friend T tightened the bolts on the legs a few weeks back and that's been most helpful). I've fed dozens of people here. There have been holiday celebrations and countless everyday suppers where JT and I discuss the day's events (lately that would include the injustice of puppy guarding while playing freeze tag) and identify our favorite part of the day.
Each afternoon, homework is completed at this table.
I write on my computer at one corner of the table and grade papers at the other. Packages are wrapped and notes are written at this table. We've cooled and decorated countless holiday cookies on its surface. I regularly pile garden produce and flowers on this table. Easter baskets and birthday presents appear on the table. Every year that he has visited my home, Santa eats his Christmas Eve cookies and enjoys a generous sip of bourbon at the table. The table has seen plenty of laughter and has – literally – helped my baby to become the big nine year boy he is today. For many people, the kitchen is the center of their home and certainly the kitchen is important to mine. But the real center of Sassafras House is my big oak table.