This old table has scars, many tales to spin

Bill and I can finally relax because the babies have flown the nest. No, I don't mean the children, they've been gone for years.

We have been baby sitting a family of wrens for some time now and it was getting to be a big chore. I bought a new hanging basket, hung it up and, the very next day, the father wren had built an elaborate nest in it. Soon, the mother wren had laid her eggs in the nest and there was a lot of coming and going to the site. Only problem was that the basket, and thus the nest, was hanging over the picnic table where Roxie, the cat, sleeps. Several times a day we'd hear the wrens screeching at Roxie and we'd have to go out and try to coax her to move to another location. Sometimes when Roxie was feeling belligerent (and, with cats, isn't that almost all the time?) we'd have to start the spray on the hose— not to spray her, but she strictly stays away when the hose is spraying.

The birds were finally born and, still Roxie wasn't moving from her favored spot and, of course, the wrens weren't either. In fact, it was very busy around the nest with the parents bringing goodies to the babies.

We did manage to finally get them raised and off on their own and Roxie is happy to have her space back permanently.

Oh, I did see a wren checking another basket this morning, so we may be back on duty. And my nesting basket is finally showing a little life after not getting watered for weeks.


I read an article about a kitchen table the other day and it started me thinking about our kitchen table. It was the first piece of furniture that wasn't a family hand-me-down and it was the first piece we bought ourselves.

Of course it wasn't new, it was old when we bought it and had just been refinished by a craftsman in Austin. We bought it over the phone, sight unseen, for $55. It isn't very pretty, just a plain round solid oak pedestal table with three leaves, doesn't even have the fancy claw feet that many tables from that era had, but that table is just like a family member.

After we arranged to buy it, we realized that we had no vehicle large enough to go to Austin to pick it up. The late Ernie Miller, of Miller-Starnes Chevrolet-Buick (only it had another name then), loaned us a pickup to do the job. Bill, toddler Kathy, and I drove to Austin, picked up the table and started back.

The truck had some kind of problem and we stalled out at the Frame Switch Grocery Store & Tavern just outside Hutto, which is no longer there. It was a pleasant place to wait while Mr. Miller sent someone to bail us out. We had a nice lunch of summer sausage and cheese from their dairy case and some crackers and dill pickles, too.

They had a very small bathroom with a burlap curtain instead of a door in the back room and, the first thing Kathy did was toddle in there and come out carrying a corn cob! We finally got our table home and have used it every day since that time.

We have added several bumps and scars along the way, including a burn from a cast iron skillet of cornbread being dropped on it, several water marks, many places where the wood is a different color, scratches of all kinds and a big dent which mysteriously appeared.

We used it as a dining table in the first house we built and it barely accommodated a family of six. We lived close to the high school and when the kids were attending there, they came home for lunch every day. That way, we had one meal where most everybody was present.

We discussed joys and sorrows, boyfriends and girlfriends, grades, told jokes and the boys tried to gross out Kathy. Bill and I still use it every day to read the morning paper, for most of our meals and we have some pretty good discussions still.

It serves as a bridge table and, when the gang's all here, we still all try to crowd around it in the kitchen to visit even though we have a large handme down dining table now. If that table could talk!

I love our little table and, I must say, if you were in great need, I would give you just about anything in our house except that table. It stays.


This recipe has been around for a long time, but Artie Backhaus adds a different touch to it. It's perfect for these hot days when you don't want to cook anything, but need a good dessert.
Millionaire Pie
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple,

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges,
1 cup chopped pecans
1 large carton thawed Cool
2 graham cracker crusts

Combine Eagle Brand with the lemon juice. Add fruits and pecans. Gently fold in thawed whipped topping. Put into crusts and chill. Very pretty as well as tasty—the oranges give it a tart/sweet flavor. Makes 2 large pies.

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