A Place at the Table
With Thanksgiving coming up, most everyone in the United States is impatiently awaiting heaping piles of food, gatherings of friends and family, and sitting around a table to share a meal. In my family, it is the equivalent of the many parties at the Burrow, trying to wiggle and squeeze everyone (and their elbows) in so that they have some room. However, the image and meaning of “having a place at the table” is very powerful; someone else has been thoughtful and proactive in creating that space for you or someone else. Setting the table, preparing the food, and gathering are all rather interesting metaphors for equality and social justice. Here are some famous and quirky tables throughout the ages that are particular favorites of mine!
My first and favorite table is (predictably) King Arthur’s round table. This is a magically special piece of furniture space; there is no head, meaning there is no hierarchy. Who does that at a time where kings are almighty rulers? The knights or members are seated in a circle, allowing each person to look at one another. Minus the slight fact that the knights are ordered in terms of chivalric order, the round table is quite suited for candid conversations and transparent humor.
Second, of which I am particularly fond, is the Whoville feast’s table! It is a road, a long winding strip full of plates and formality, with an unlikely candidate chosen to serve the roast beast. This comfy, cozy table is full of enjoyment and holiday spirit – neighbors chat with one another and plates are passed from person to person. Who wouldn’t want to join their feast?
Third, but only last in this post, is Lumiere’s fantastically frothing table in Beauty and the Beast. Not historical and not set for a crowd, this table is possibly the least likely candidate for this post. However, think about how much energy and time was spent for Belle: the dancing, the twirling, the inconveniently quick cooking time, the moral structure, and the love put into securing this one, single place at the table is overwhelming! Of course, the plates and napkins and tea pots and all other servers are not eating or placing themselves at the table; however, it incredible to see how much it takes for one person to get there in the first place, thanks to so many others.
Furniture aside, Thanksgiving is quite a special holiday. In line with the holiday spirit, Thanksgiving allows us to share a meal with people with whom we wouldn’t normally eat– whether it is family from out of town, new significant others, old friends, or your immediate family whom you haven’t seen in a while, Thanksgiving brings people together. Friendsgiving, a new phenomenon in which I was so lucky to partake in this year, drew together new and old friends and created a whole new kind of family. What a wonderfully and simply soulful thing this is!
So, what are your favorite tables? And with whom are you sharing this special day? Have a happy and healthy turkey day!