Picnic Table and Cole
Dearly departed Joe built our picnic table the first summer we moved into our house. I remember standing at the garage door watching my diapered tot put his hand over his dad’s as they hammered the nails into the table together. It was their first building project together. We all painted the table turquoise and enjoyed a summer of picnic lunches.
As time went on, we painted the table superhero red. I tied a cape around my preschooler’s shoulders and held my breath as he climbed on top of the picnic table… and flew off.
“Mommy, did you see how high I flew?”
I clapped and applauded, and Joe threw our laughing boy high in the air. As soon, as his feet touched the ground, he grabbed our hands and insisted on a picnic with “’talian sammies.” We agreed that was a fine idea. Joe was too big to sit on a picnic table bench so he pulled up a patio chair to the table, and Cole announced the next time they made a picnic table it had to fit Daddy.
Time flew, Cole moved on to climbing trees, and we painted the picnic table yellow and incorporated it into my Camp-Run-A-Pup logo. My campers loved climbing on and off the table and perching atop it as they surveyed the estate.
Red and yellow paint marked the years when an endless stream of middle school boys and girls spent time at our house using the table to hold their pop cans and shoes as they jumped on the trampoline.
Benign neglect and a lack of desire to sand off peeling paint inspired us to splash the picnic table artistically with leftover paint from other projects. It was in this hodgepodge state when Joe died in 2009. That summer, Cole was sitting on the picnic table when he wondered if the happy times were gone forever.
Minor repairs were made to the table over the next 5 years and we painted it a few more times, but this summer it was apparent that it was on its last legs and in need of major repair. We tried. Cole nailed the benches back on, I grabbed sand paper and tried to sand the rotting wood away, but the foot fell off and I fell apart. I wanted my picnic table, I wanted Joe, I wanted the happy times.
Cole and I discussed our options acknowledging that the table was past reconstruction. We were frustrated. And then Cole stated the obvious.
“Mom, I can build a new picnic table. We could make it out of cedar, which will last longer than pine.” We agreed the new picnic table would inherit the benches from its predecessor. A loud clap of thunder clinched our decision to move forward and rebuild. We had heavenly approval.
We didn’t make the new table bigger, but there is plenty of room to add years of happy times.
Can you believe I forgot to take a picture right after it was built? But here is a picture of it fitting right in with the family.
Odd Loves Company,
The life and times of our Picnic Table