New Tables, New Beginnings

I’ve tried to play it off by posting my weekly instagram pictures, but I’ve been moving. I’m all discombobulated, and most importantly, I’m trying to get used to a new kitchen. And taking pictures in a new kitchen. Whoa.

This weekend, I retrieved all my furniture from my parents and I am officially at home here in Carrboro. I’m blogging from my (hopefully) fully-assembled desk while Jason washes the dishes from dinner.

The best thing about the new place? (Besides the chickens?) My new table. It was a christmas gift from my dad. It originally came from the Fort Macon Hotel in downtown Morehead City, which my great-grandfather, H.B. Spears, owned in the 1950s. After the hotel closed, the table was passed down to Nanny and Pop, my grandmother and grandfather. There, it became a part of the kitchen, and the lives, of the Conner women. It would have served as a kitchen table for Nanny, where she and her mother, Maw-Maw, my great-grandmother, would have spent countless hours together. The table was eventually passed down to my uncle Dickie, and it ended up in his storage unit. It was nothing but legs, and my dad grabbed it and kept it, rolled up, in his workshop for the last ten years.

He pulled it out not long ago. He attached a top made of galvanized metal and distressed the legs and frame so that you can see all the colors the table has been painted. According to my dad, “those Conner women loved to paint things.” I learned a lot from those Conner women.

Nanny was a strong-willed, stubborn, intelligent, and loving woman. She was sick the whole time I knew her, but she never let me know it. She loved me with the same sort of ferocity that she did everything else. Even though she died ten years ago when I was only twelve, she’s just one of those people whose personality was big and powerful enough that she is still a presence in my family. I look at this table, and I see her, young and healthy, rolling out biscuits.

Maw-Maw probably also sat and drank coffee at this table. Another of the Conner women, Maw-Maw was mother to six children, grandmother to eighteen, great-grandmother to forty-one, and great-great grandmother to eight. She died last month at ninety seven. When I knew her, Maw-Maw was a caretaker to everyone she came in contact with. She was kind; kind in a way that defines the word.

Jason and I ate dinner at this table for the first time tonight. He made baked chicken with paprika, and I made some macaroni and cheese and green beans. We opened a bottle of wine that he brought home from Spain last year to celebrate.

The chicken was great, I should leave the cooking to Jason more often. He makes big messes, but he always cleans up and the results are always delicious.

I’m looking forward to drinking my coffee at this table. If I ever learn to play bridge, I’ll do it at this table like Nanny and Maw-Maw did. I may even roll out the occasional biscuit.

I came from those Conner women who loved to paint things, and many others. The kitchen is a big part of my life, and the kitchen table is a natural part of that. I really like the idea of living my life where Maw-Maw and Nanny lived theirs before me.

6 thoughts on “New Tables, New Beginnings

  1. You display such groundedness for an Argonaut ! One needs the nourishment of great food and the tether of Southern roots for launching out into the bigger ocean.

  2. That table is a mighty Ebenezer of the love and culture passed onto you by the Conner Women! Incredible legacy and gorgeous the way Bruce restored it
    — I LOVE IT!!!!

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