Mama and I often moved the furniture about her house. It was sort of our hobby. As the years went on and grandmamma’s and aunts did as well, she garnered more and more tables, side tables, dressers, beds and chairs. My Daddy says my Mama has enough chairs in that house: living space, basement and attic to seat everyone in their very large neighborhood. We are of the ilk that DO NOT sell furniture, at least not the kind that belonged to someone who was related by blood or love. It is a flat-out sin. Where I am from, you can give it away to someone who will appreciate it or you can keep it; you cannot sell it. If it is in total dysfunction, and you cannot surmise a way to make planter or derive some other good use from it, you can trash it. But I imagine a burning would be more kindly looked upon than the trashing. Anyway, my Mama loves family furniture…she has a story for every mark made upon it. So it stays with her, under her care and watch, until she hands it off to me. She trusts me with the stories. I have now earned the right to keep some of Nana’s things. I also have most of my Daddy’s crazy Aunt Bea’s furniture. As she never married and had no children, it fills my front rooms. But, I have Nana’s leather-covered end tables and green motif lamps which I love. I have her 1940’s radio. My mama has her better pieces: bedroom set, buffet, sideboard and table…I am not yet approved for the management of such. But, I do have Nana’s coffee table…I had it out in my living room, pre-children. But, it was not nearly sturdy enough for my hoards. So, I moved it to safer pastures, out of sight.
Nana’s coffee table is the piece of furniture which my hands know best. I ate almost every meal at her bigger tables: dining room or the pieced-pine kitchen one, if it was only me and Nana around to eat. But, my hands rubbed that oval rimmed coffee table silk smooth. I sat at it to play my games of cards or to make my own ovals in word find books. I remember rolling my marbles, bag left over from the forties, around the rim. I loved the sound of such. I’m sure my Nana and Dada did not. But, they let me do it, over and over. It somehow comforted my often disquieted soul. I think now about me wearing away the finish on Nana’s cherry coffee table with my marbles. It was well made, not a cheap piece for her army-life budget. I can see the rings I wore around its periphery and don’t imagine I would have suffered the same from my littles. But, she did. Nothing she had ever came before what was best for me. They gave me blessed space and precious quiet and the freedom to make what racket was mine to raise.