We have a coffee table now.
We really haven’t had a coffee table since we got married. I had one when I lived in Iowa, but it was frighteningly ugly and I used it as a desk anyway. I’d gotten it for free, along with a sofa, a big square chair with wide arms that was perfect for reading graduate school assignments and taking notes in, and a couple of end tables. These were all residing at a friend of a friend’s apartment back in 1989. He was about to get married and his wife wanted nothing whatever to do with any of it, so my dad, my brother and I went over in a rented truck and spirited them away. I took them to my first real apartment in Pittsburgh, and eventually to Iowa.
And then I moved to Wisconsin and got married. There was something about that furniture set that repelled wives, really. The coffee table and end table ended up in the basement – I think we gave them to another bachelor after a while. Maybe. They seem to have vanished, at any rate. We used the sofa until it became intolerable and began to decay and I had to put an ad in the local shopper (“decent condition, wife hates, must sell”). It sold quickly, actually. I kept the big chair until it was about to fall apart and then gave it to a friend who liked it. He moved away after that. For all I know he still has it.
When the girls were little we didn’t want anything with corners at that height that they could toddle into, so we didn't replace the coffee table with anything. Eventually we bought a couple of styrofoam moons from IKEA. They came with soft blue covers that you could take off and wash, and you could use them as rocking chairs. And if you stacked them one on top of the other, they made a decent coffee table substitute.
The girls are no longer little.
And Kim has long wanted a real coffee table.
So last week she found one she liked for a reasonable sum at a local retail establishment and we went over, stuffed it into the back of the van, and brought it home.
The moons we delivered to a friend with little kids, because really – they’re great for little kids.
So now we have a coffee table in the living room. It is a nice table. I don’t even like coffee, and I think it’s a nice table. It makes the place look far more grown-up than the moons ever did. You can put a whole lot of things on it if you want, including breakfast and, on occasion, multiple cats. You can put your feet up while you watch television. We haven’t filled the little drawers yet, but that’s a matter of time I suppose.
For all the things that are roiling the world at the moment, it is good to be reminded that small things can make life a more pleasant place.