Tuesday, May 13, 2014


By Sharon Wolff

Where does the good stuff go when nobody wants it anymore?

For approximately 20 years, I have been searching for the perfect coffee table.

David was a long-time critic of the coffee table concept. But not because he doesn't drink coffee. He felt that a coffee table would infringe upon our activities of daily living. He first tried to appeal to my devotion to our dog, Gracie, who when running around would bump into it. That was pretty lame because everyone knows that dogs and coffee tables have coexisted for decades, if not centuries.

David's real reason for not wanting a coffee table was that it interfered with Jordan's ball playing. You see, a portion of our family room is devoted to The Ball Wall. This ordinary wall has been the recipient of the many, many loud and sudden thuds, bounces, catches, crashes, dashes and dives that led to the refined development of Jordan's "soft hands" for baseball. Remarkably (to my knowledge), only one little stoneware crock became a cracked casualty of said wall.

The ongoing presence of The Ball Wall has remained completely out of my control. Every one of my attempts to hang a nice picture or patch drywall became only a temporary fix in anticipation of entertaining guests. The crashing and dashing resumed and the chips and dents soon reappeared.

For 16 years or so, The Ball Wall flourished. It ultimately became the subject of Jordan's college essay, which got him accepted to the school of his choice. But I digress...

I love my child and my dog and wish them only the best. However, neither of these anti-coffee table deterrents had anything to do with my notion of Home Decor. So, being the lady of the house I eventually won out.

It wasn't easy. There were several attempts on my part to introduce a coffee table to a skeptical family.  I just couldn't find the right one with the right feel. Included were a rickety antique child's desk, a garage sale tiled bench and a round actual coffee table that David disparagingly referred to as "The Disk".

Alas, I finally found the best coffee table ever.
At the flea market.
In one of its former lives it was a big heavy trunk. Perhaps stored in a dusty attic, or filled with a bride-to-be's sentimental notions. This trunk coffee table now accents the family room and its repurposed function is to hold blankets for chilly nights and host mid afternoon snacks (the second purpose is a complete mock-up because we don't do that, but should).

It's done more for us than it knows. Whenever a child was home sick, Kleenex, chicken soup and hot chocolate were close at hand for the resting blanketed child. The soft blankets stored inside kept us cozy as we watched our favorite TV shows together. We played board games on this table. Snacks for Ben's friends were put out on this table. It provided extra seating when Joe's group of 10 high school boys sat around and loudly played a video game. It's a great thing!

Now you know where the good stuff goes when nobody wants it anymore.
It goes to the flea market and waits for a new purpose in a new home.

Although we may have different ideas about the validity of coffee tables, David eventually came around...and can regularly be seen resting his feet and remote on the trunk.

And now, as the last of three boys heads off to college in a few months, The Ball Wall will be silenced. It will definitely be time for David and me to take a mid afternoon coffee break and reminisce about tables and trunks and wonder: Where did all the time go?

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