The other night -- I think it was Thursday -- I arrived home to this. Don't be fooled by the relaxed appearance of the dog. He's actually wondering, "where the hell is the kitchen table?" I'm with the dog.
It turns out we were ravaged by locusts, otherwise known as children who are setting up their own apartment. Sure, we tell them that if things don't work out, they can always move back home; there'll always be a light on and a bed waiting for them. It's a good thing we didn't mention anything about there being a kitchen table.
Of course we want to help them make their way in the world so we help them whenever we can. Because they just recently finished their teenage years, we had gotten use to the notion that they didn't hear a thing we said. Ever. So when my wife muttered something about needing a new kitchen table and giving one "to the boys" for their apartment, I didn't really think much about it.
Until Thursday night.
I think my wife, Carolie, is happy to be rid of the thing because it actually is a leftover from the '70s, when she was just starting to make it on her own. The thing screamed '70s, in fact. It screamed it pretty loudly because the leader of the locust pack, my oldest son, Sean, refused to take the chairs that went with it. "No chairs, no table," Carolie said, in what may be the first rule we've actually been able to enforce since "no peeing in the pool."
I'd love to tell you I have great sentiment for the dearly departed table; that it was the scene of many a family dinner in which full days were recounted and fatherly advice dispensed. But with me being in the news business and all, I never had a schedule that permitted such things. If we could get everyone seated at a table once or twice a year -- Thanksgiving or Christmas, for example -- we had a good year. No, the table was primarily used as places to build "piles," a subject that I'll surely get to later.
So what we're left with is another unfinished "Dad project." It's an old table from one of Carolie's relatives. And the chairs, I think, we took from her parents. Oh cruel irony! Now it sits there, mocking me as all of my unfinished projects do. "Sand me! Stain me! Put piles of worthless junk on me!"
They say dogs have great hearing and I think the mutt knows something. I think he can hear the locusts heading this way. I think they're coming back. I think the dog remembers me saying something to the kids about wanting a new couch.
An interview with Tom Berge
5 months ago