Card tables are under-appreciated. You know the kind I mean: wobbly, four collapsible legs, usually brown, sometimes gray. We all have one. One that has been dusted off and broken out at birthday parties, family gatherings, and rummage sales to support everything from chips and salsa to that random household junk that needs to be sold. We don’t give our trusty card tables enough credit and I believe that this needs to change. So this one’s for you, card table.
For as long as I can remember my family has loved parties. Hosting events for family and friends has always been a Burneske forte. Whether it is for a football game or the Fourth of July, I can assure you that the counters and the dining room table will be covered with food and drinks, plastic plates and every utensil under the sun. But where do we put the dishes our guests bring? And what about all the gifts at Christmastime and birthday parties? Quick, someone grab a tablecloth and bring the card table up from the basement! It always does the job. Through the years, our card table has been there for every event. At times holding more weight than is probably safe, that rickety table has helped support my family through all the parties and gatherings without hearing a single word of thanks. But that isn’t all.
I am fairly certain that if my card table could talk, it would be able to tell you the entire story of my growing-up as well as the parents who raised me. Besides the fun times at social events, our card table has seen quite a bit of other stuff too. It supported the first pumpkin I ever carved. Around the time of a later Halloween, it sat in the garage holding the plans for the 13 foot-tall ghost created by my sister, my dad, and I out of wood, PVC pipe, and white sheets. It held up the paints, googly-eyes, puff balls, colored paper, and glue as I did crafts when I was little. If you look closely, you can still see the orange paint I managed to spill all over the top of that table. As I got older, our card table experienced my first games of chess against my dad. It stood alongside countless other shaky folding tables at many science and invention fairs, proving that card tables are important because how else could the nation’s young minds display the ideas of tomorrow without that portable table to set up their displays on in the school gymnasium?
In a rough time, it acted as a kitchen table in a one-bedroom apartment for nearly a year-and-a-half. In a better time, it supported the countless awards acquired by my older sister as well as a letter of acceptance to the University of Minnesota Air Force ROTC program at her high school graduation party. More recently, our card table has held chocolate milk and pasta at cross country team dinners in my backyard.
Soon it will hold my awards and pictures at my graduation party and I can almost guarantee that if it is still stable, someday that card table will be at my wedding supporting gifts or flowers or whatever it is that wobbly tables hold at weddings. It has been there for my entire life. Call me crazy, but my card table has watched me grow up.
Thanks to our card table, our family gatherings have been a success, our nice counters never got covered in orange paint or pumpkin guts, and I know that I’ll have something to place the card box on at my grad party and my wedding. Secretly, I think I kind of hope that my parents give it to me someday. Why? Well, I just told you. That table saw me grow up, quietly sitting there always ready for action. It is an extraordinarily under-appreciated necessity. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves but it is a truly fantastic item. After all the things it has endured and held for us, we ought to appreciate our card tables a little more, maybe even give them a round of applause. They’re always there, but we never say thanks. So thank you, my dear card table, for always being there in a pinch. Thank you for always holding our stuff, for as long as I can remember, no matter where my family lived or what our situation was.