The World Begins at a Kitchen Table

July 12, 2013

“The world begins at a kitchen table.  No matter what, we must eat
to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table.  So it has
been since creation, and it will go on.”
— Joy Harjo, from “Perhaps the World Ends Here”

The kitchen table is smaller now

The kitchen table is smaller now

My Dad’s kitchen table is smaller now than the big rectangular one we gathered around in my childhood.  Then that table was the center of our lives.  We ate countless breakfasts, dinners, and suppers there.  We did our homework at that table.  We played cards and games and colored and drew on that oilcloth-covered surface.

“Tables are trustworthy:
titanic quadrupeds,
they sustain
our hopes and our daily life.”
— Pablo Neruda, “Ode to the Table”

Isn’t it remarkable that poets have written about our kitchen tables!  These wise poets know what is important in life.

Dad eating supper at the kitchen table

Dad eating supper at the kitchen table

Saying grace  after the meal: "We give thee thanks . . ."

Saying grace after the meal: “We give thee thanks . . .”

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11 Responses to “The World Begins at a Kitchen Table”

  1. camilla wells paynter Says:

    This is lovely. I especially like that in the first photo, your Dad seems to be looking up toward what I presume is a painting of the “Last Supper.” Your photos are more than simply well-composed vignettes of ordinary life, but contain all this subtle symbolism pertaining to their subjects that contributes immensely to their deep beauty.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Thank you for looking so closely. Your observations and comments add another layer of meaning to these posts. A gift to us all.

  2. Judy Says:

    I also noticed Dad looking up at the Last Supper with the drying palm frond over the corner. He says Grace after meals too? He is a blessed man!!!

    • Rosemary Says:

      The grace before meals asks for a blessing for us and the food: “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts . . .” The grace after meals gives thanks:”We give thee thanks Almighty God . . .”

  3. Laura Says:

    Rosemary, I am so grateful to you for sharing these two poems! I’m in the midst of writing a book on sacraments and family life, and I’ve been searching in vain for a poem on the family table. The Joy Harjo piece is absolutely perfect. Thank you!

  4. Pat Says:

    The last photo is a real keeper. How very beautiful.

  5. Chris Says:

    I have been away for a week without internet and am just now getting caught up with your posts. I have really loved all these stories and photos of your Dad…as bittersweet as they are, they have also been quite beautiful and moving.
    Thank-you so much for sharing this glimpse into your childhood home and memories…and please forgive me for anything I might have said regarding your Dad moving away before fully knowing the whole story.
    I regard you as a friend, wonderful photographer and a wisdom not possessed by many!
    Thank-you again!

    • Rosemary Says:

      There is nothing to forgive. The decision is so complex. Who knows, really, what is the right course of action. Even those of us closest to the situation don’t know for sure. Regardless of what happens, I am gratified to have the support and well wishes of friends and family. So thank you!


  6. […] The World Begins at a Kitchen Table, July 12, 2013 […]

  7. Barbara A Stahler Says:

    Rosemary, your photos remind me so much of the times I spent with my father during his final years-eating together was so special.


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