My mother doesn’t cook anymore; I’m not even sure she eats. She doesn’t have a table in her one-bedroom apartment. I can’t understand not wanting a table, a flat surface with so many uses. Once upon a time she had the rectangular Danish modern table where we all did our homework and where my dad occasionally set up his typewriter. Then her mother, my grandmother, moved to a nursing home and Mom inherited the huge round walnut table where her own grandmother had had her appendix removed. This was a story which my grandmother wisely saved for when we were older, thereby keeping Thanksgiving dinner conversation appropriate.
My mother served many a turkey on each of these tables, not to mention the fried okra, scrambled eggs, tacos, and Lucky Charms that made up our more mundane fare. Neither table would fit in her current apartment, and she seems unwilling to get a bistro table. She can eat Lean Cuisine, crackers and cheese from her TV tray, while her dining area houses her bookshelves, filled with books she’ll never read again. I wonder if I too will do that in thirty years, choose immediate comfort—a chair in front of the TV—over a balanced life, memories over the present.