I came from what some might consider a large family... but in my Irish Catholic world, having 6 kids was pretty average. Everything had to be larger in a big family, meals were an assembly line. Only a VW bus would do, and school lunches lined the table like paper bag soldiers. The bill for groceries must have been outrageous. There has to be more of everything when a family is large.
As a child, I watched as my father and older brothers wrestled with our new kitchen table. They had bought it in an auction- a large, wood, second-hand library table. Dad brought it home strapped dangerously to the top of the family VW. Somehow they managed to get this oversized table into the kitchen, but once in they were unable to turn and position the table where my mother wanted- it was simple too large. In exasperation, my father fired up the circular saw and cut 4 feet off one side. “This side will be the one against the wall,” my father proclaimed.
A family needs a big kitchen table to conduct its business. Meals are only one of the tables duties. Report cards were scrutinized here, molten candy was poured on slabs of marble and cut on this table, dough was kneaded here. I hurt my shoulder as I walked by the corner of the table when I was a boy, and I hurt my hip on the same corner as an adult. We toasted the life of my grand mother here. I overheard my parents discussing my runaway brother at this table. The kitchen may be the heart of a house, but the kitchen table is the soul.
We grew older and each of us moved into our own homes with our own kitchen tables. My parents no longer needed the large table and gave it to a workman. As much as they would have liked to have kept the table it was time for it to go to another family.