The last big school vacation is Spring Break and the following is my favorite Spring Break memory ever. It also is one of the favorite memories of the character that was my father, Dr. Roger Wayne Hawley. This is from July 4, 2006.
I was in eighth grade when we came into possession of the stump. Our family was visiting friends in Colorado Springs. We drove up into the mountains where Dad spotted the sawed off remains of a cedar tree. He had to have it. Collecting belts from the car riders, he strapped it on top of our 1962 Oldsmobile station wagon until we were back at the home of our friends. For the return to Nebraska, Dad secured it on top of the car with ropes- you know that helped the gas mileage! Those of us who had yet to reach adulthood were ducking down in the seats as we rolled into York, hoping none of our friends would spot us. I don't get embarrassed easily but even I was looking for a place to hide. Dad stuck his souvenir in the garage and it remained in hibernation for years. I was relieved.
More than a decade later, Dad pulled the stump from its dormant state and put his plan into motion. By now, living in Lubbock, Texas, Dad took that remnant of the Colorado forests and manufactured it into a coffee table. The stump was almost perfectly balanced and needed very little leveling. Dad had a large circular piece of glass cut for the top which rested on the limbs. To top it off, he glued a piece of a branch to the middle of the glass to make it appear it had grown right through the table. For more than two decades, that table has been the centerpiece of Mom and Dad's living room, starting innumerable conversations with visitors. I have never seen anything like it. How do you see a piece of dead wood in a field and envision a piece of furniture that will become an integral part of your family environment for a generation? My visions and my father's visions have never been inspired identically.
We moved the table today. My mother's increasing tendency to wobble and fall as she walks makes it dangerous for her. The glass could cut her severely should she topple over on it and that can't be. The piece of furniture my father loves has become a hazard to the wife he loves and something had to go. I know it wasn't easy but the decision made itself. The table is now part of Hawley history, relegated to a corner in a dimly lit and dusty garage. One of us will inherit that combination of glass and cedar someday but it won't be the same. There will be more than an empty space in front of the couch now. There will be the indentation marks in the carpet, the reminder of a family memory.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future."
Gail Lumet Buckley
E-mail me at email@example.com