When I was very young I longed for adventure and excitement, and neglected the daily rituals of life that are more satisfying. Sharing a meal and conversation with people I love is one of life's greatest pleasures. As my children leave home, marry, and one day, have children, I think that I will always treasure times around the table. Good food, smiles, tears, laughter and the ability to look into each one's eyes are what makes mealtimes together so wonderful.
Mr. Handyman made this dining table of laurel wood 22 years ago. It seats 6-8 comfortably and has three extension leaves. We've crowded 17 people around the table, elbows bumping happily, for special occasions. It's traveled with us from the jungle to the Andes highlands, and now to Canada. To me, this table represents more than just a place to eat. It holds memories of birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas dinners.
When we lived in the jungle, our main floor was the second story of our home. I would sit at the dining room table and write letters home to my family in Canada. A huge tree overshadowed the house, but it was still bright because of big windows. I felt like I was sitting in a tree-house. Often, while writing letters I would sense someone watching me. Then, looking outside I saw one or two woolly monkeys perched on a branch, heads tilted, eyes intent on this strange person they could see.
This table, and the memories it holds, are some of my heart's treasures. Around this table we've shared stories of our days, laughed until we cried, prayed, and argued. Some of us have stomped away from the table in anger, but in the end, we all come back to share life here.