We are colonising the pavement. We believe that in the interests of creating a cooler, safer, new improved Woodstock, we have put new specially made trestle tables on the pavement outside The Kitchen! People want to enjoy their lunch or coffee and watch the Woodstock world go by.
Because The Kitchen is small, our long tables allow people to sit beside each other on benches or stools but not really around a table. Which I think works happily for our establishment.
I grew up eating supper around a table every night. Besides my mom (Ruth) and dad (Bernard) and brother (Gavin), we often had visitors (missionaries, travellers, people who lived with us for periods of time). And whether it was just the four of us or guests as well, the experience was formative.
As we gathered around the table (often the kitchen table), there was a certain communion in sharing a meal. We got to talk about our daily experiences and our interpretation of them. We engaged in general discussion, sharing opinions and knowledge and we grew an interest in the wider world. Unconsciously, we were being taught the art of listening and being interested in other people – the foundation of friendship and conversation. We learnt table manners.
David, Ben, Maggie and myself, eat together at our table most nights. It is true that the conversation at this point does not go much beyond, “Maggie, eat your supper”. “Ben, please don’t wipe your hands on the tablecloth”. Some nights, I am even rewarded with, “This is deeeeliscious, Mom!” David and I hang on every little story. Oh that we would be good listeners and grow kind, compassionate and interested children!
Perhaps the World Ends Here
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
from The Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor
(Poetry and often quirky historial information sent to your mailbox daily)