End of an Era

It’s the end of an era at the Barker house. This weekend we laid to rest (out in the garage for now) a well-used and well-worn permanent fixture in our home. Our dining set of nearly 30 years has finally been retired. The poor thing has cried out for retirement for probably a decade or more, but we pressed it into continued service while our funds were being diverted to the halls of higher education (aka “kids in college”). Tack a wedding onto the end of those years, and the old dining set just didn’t have a chance.

I should have known our girls would have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Kristin and Kelli are about as sentimental as they come. Protest usually precedes any change I want to make around here, and believe it or not, Don is not the guilty party.

Thanks to our sentimental daughters (both out on their own now), we still have an empty dog house sitting out in the backyard, a Hello Kitty toothbrush holder attached to the bathroom wall, and a variety of other items that they assure us our yet-to-be-conceived grandchildren will most definitely use someday. When I think about it, I really see this as a compliment of sorts. At least they have fond memories of growing up at home.

The old dining set certainly holds a host of memories. Come to think of it, we’ve had it longer than we’ve had the girls. (Gosh, now I’m wondering if we should get rid of it!) We have gathered around that table through every phase of life, from a young couple just starting out to a family in full swing to a more “seasoned” couple wondering where the years have gone.

The table has seen it all. An expectant mom tired of trying to reach the food and finally just setting the plate on her belly, babies in high chairs having fun with spaghetti or nodding off into naptime before lunch was over, preschoolers blessing the food, and little girls playing play-doh on top of the table and making their “house” underneath.

Later came after-school snacks and daily homework, endless hours of Kelli’s crafty creations, birthday cakes with friends gathered round, Kristin learning the art of cookie making, and Don slaving over taxes and college financial forms. Soon the old table started seeing boys pull up a chair, and now we have one who has a permanent spot at the table.

Family games have always kept the table hopping, ranging all the way from Disney dominoes and Monopoly to Spades and Cranium. And of course, many prayers have been said at the table by the alone-again couple as the girls went off to college and made new lives of their own. Three decades of memories, most of them good. No wonder the girls are reluctant to let the old table go.

Of course, it’s not really the table that means so much to all of us but rather the memories of all the good times we’ve had with those we love. And so… the table can change. The memories will stay with us forever, priceless and treasured. What about you? Where have many of your fondest memories taken place? Go ahead, indulge in some nostalgia. You might even want to call a loved one and say “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3 NIV)


  1. Well, I definitely felt some tears hit my cheeks during the reading of this post! Your memories of the table are so wonderful (though I don’t remember them all myself). It almost makes me want to drive over there and pick the table to keep for myself!!

    On the other side of things, the new table is making me really excited to think of the new and beautiful memories we will create in both the near and distant future at your home. That’s definitely something to look forward to.

  2. It made me teary also! I hate change!

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