Since I was expecting eight young women to come to Bible study a couple of weeks ago, I asked Steve to help me put the leaves in the dining table. The kitchen table seats six and nine of us scrunched around it would not be comfortable. As we pushed the table together, the middle collapsed to the floor! We just stood there, mouths agape. What on earth?
So I put the leaves away and looked in–brace yourself–the paper phone book yellow pages. Yes, I pulled out not one of those huge things that I never open but instead my slim, trim Campbell County phone book, which includes a few local businesses in the yellow pages. I called the closest one, Dullaghan Restorations, and talked to Tim Dullaghan. Of course he could fix it, he assured me.
The twelve children who came with their mothers that day were intrigued by it, letting hats and gloves slide down it, and getting closer and closer. “Do NOT slide down that table yourselves!” I cautioned them, and they backed away, hope clearly thwarted.
Tim came to survey the damage later in the day, then returned with a truck and took away the table top and leaves, leaving the legs under the buffet. From the basement, I hauled up a long folding table and put the dining chairs to it as usual.
No surprise that this was two weeks packed with feeding more than six people. Nine of us did crowd around the kitchen table on Thursday. On Sunday, we hosted our Life Group after morning worship, so the tables plus the high chair accommodated the 16 people. The next Saturday, our son and his family were here, so all nine of us managed to get around the folding table. It is long enough to pull up eight chairs, but it’s a squeeze, and the table is so narrow it seemed as though our knees would touch the person’s across the table. We enjoyed the close communion.
Then Tuesday, Steve’s sister and husband came to visit and again we used the folding table for seven of us. When anyone asked about what had happened to our table, Steve would say, “Well, we didn’t downsize our house, but we did downsize our dining table!”
We got lots of laughs out of serving big meals on the dinky table. But throughout it all, everyone realized that it’s never about the table, or even the food. It’s always about the people, the relationships, the shared love.
When someone told my mother that they would “have company over” if they had a nice house like hers, she had a stock response: “We had just as many people and just as much fun when we had a linoleum floor and a kerosene stove to warm the room. Surroundings aren’t important.”
Steve and I believe that, too. The blessings of “being given to hospitality,” which we learned from both our mothers, are innumerable.
Even on a folding table.