My sister and I spent entire afternoons at the kitchen table creating paint-by-number masterpieces, dipping the brush into little pots of paint and applying color between the lines.
While Momma made lunch, we cut paper dolls from the Sears catalog.
Balls of peanut butter cookie dough were pressed into sugary crisscross patterns with a fork. We waited impatiently at the table for the cookies to bake.
From the kitchen table, we learned life lessons. Daddy grumbled about the weather. Friends joined Momma for a cup of Folgers. After supper, accidental stains and food crumbs were erased with soapy water and a dishrag. Each day began fresh at the kitchen table.
Seasons were marked as the center fruit basket was replaced with an evergreen candle Saturday after Thanksgiving. After a deep fresh snow, we made bowls of snow cream with lots of vanilla and sugar.
Momma cut dress patterns, worked crossword puzzles, called out spelling words. We made vacation plans and counted down to the lake over breakfast bowls of grits.
Each afternoon, Momma sorted through bills, Columbia House junk mail, a letter from my Australian penpal delivered half a world away straight to our small, sturdy table.
I studied for the ACT test, trying to block the sound of the television in the den, plotting my escape to college. Later, I couldn’t wait for that first home-cooked meal after fall semester.