I am not sure why it caught my eye. Perhaps someone mentioned it; perhaps it just clicked when I finally looked past the items that were sitting on it. I really don’t remember. I simply remember when I saw it, those six words came back to me, and I exclaimed, “That’s mine!”
Just as quickly, I gathered myself together and appropriately asked my mom, “Is that the little red table? Can I have that?”
“Put a sold sign on it,” she just as quickly replied.
We were having a family garage sale. The location was my folks’ house - the home where I grew up. But several family members brought items to sell. It probably wasn’t the best weekend to schedule a sale, with the 100 degree heat and all the other activities going on in our community, but schedule it we did. With summer running short, and busy weekends slated ahead of this one, I felt like it was a "now or never" kind of thing.
It was fairly successful. Everyone sold something and made a little money. But the success of family time spent together was even more significant. My folks seemed to thoroughly enjoy it; and though I worried about them spending too much time in the heat, they really wanted to be out there with us.
We visited with our “shoppers” that stopped to see our wares; we arranged and dickered, and second-guessed ourselves. But most importantly we shared memories, and talked about things that were meaningful to us. A certain item might have sparked a memory in one that the other sibling had totally forgotten.
My oldest sis placed a claim on a thermos that she remembered Dad using for both work and recreation for years. When I asked him if he was ready to "Goodwill it", he said no. He still had some use to get out of it…maybe when he went Steelhead fishing this fall.
“When he is done with it, I would like it”, my sister told me. I put a label with her name on the bottom of it, so no one would forget.
We all remembered playing our records on the stereo that had long been stored away in the basement. My oldest sis mentioned the hours and hours of playing her records while the folks weren't home. I remembered hiding the “rock and roll” from Dad, while the little sis, remembered sitting on the stereo consul in front of the living room window for hours as it was the best vantage point for seeing what was taking place outside. (I assume, anyway.) Even as I write, I remember Frankie Laine's Cry of the Wild Goose and Johnny Horton's Whispering Pines as a few of our favorites that would spin over and over. Everyone was thrilled when my son bought the consul for his new home. It would stay in the family.
What most struck a chord with me was "the little red table". It wasn’t even as much the table that I desired as it was the words that accompanied it. “Go get the little red table.” I don’t know how many times I heard that refrain as a child growing up. I don’t even remember what it was we were “getting it” for. I think we used it for an extra place to eat as a child, when company came. I assume we used it to set up our brand new record player that dad brought home for us when Chubby Checkers was popular. I’m pretty sure I colored on it, and probably played “school”. Maybe I played Barbie dolls on it. I don’t know. I just remember my mom saying, “Go get the little red table.” And I’m sure from time to time it was a sibling that said those six words when it was time to play Monopoly or Clue.
I need to have my mom refresh my memory about the history of the table. I know it originally had at least one chair that went with it. I remember the little chair as plain as day, too, but I am not sure what happened to it. I think it had been welded a time or two as a repair. The table and chair were metal and when we were kids it was a worn red color. You see, the table was even old when we used it. It used to be my Uncle Jerry’s – my mom’s youngest brother. Uncle Jerry has since passed, but I suppose he would be around 80 years old by now, had he lived.
I got the biggest kick when I got home from the yard sale and heard my son say, “I put the little red table in the trunk of your car; I will bring it into the house for you.” I smiled. His words were music to my ears, because the table is no longer red, it’s black. But some names simply remain, as they should and I love that. Somewhere along the line, the little red table got painted black. Will it stay black now, or will I repaint it red? I don’t know. It wouldn’t be the exact same red, if I painted it; and the black is now part of its life history. I suppose my folks used it for a variety of things after we kids, were long gone from our home. Who knows how many decades it has been stored away in the folks’ basement, waiting just for this moment when someone would place a claim! I just happen to be the lucky one.
But I hope my siblings know I will share should they ever feel like they want to experience the memory, too. All’s they have to do is tell me: “Go get the little red table.” And I will oblige…at least so they can play on it for a little while.