It need not be said, however this is a blog, so I am saying it. If you have a farm house you should have a farm table. You know, a massive, solid wood table, scrubbed over a hundred years or so to a beautiful golden patina. It should be at least six feet long but extendable to about twelve feet, so it can host your friends and family for those amazing five hour meals on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Last year I thought I had found the holy grail of tables. I went to our local charity shop which sells everything from dishes to furniture to thrashing machines and farm equipment. I was with my daughter and was looking for a large table to put in the garden. I already had a nice table in the kitchen and decided that we entertain so much outdoors that I would like to have the quintessential french farm table outside on the lawn. We could store it in the stable in the winter but from June -September it would live outside.
I was cruising the “bric-a-brac” as they call it, hoping to find a coveted Le Creuset skillet when I noticed an old farm table in the corner.
I immediately made a beeline for the table and called my daughter over to guard it while I went to inquire about the price. I asked the monsieur if he could tell me the price of a table I was interested in buying. He replied (in French of course, because after all, we are in Brittany), “oh, the table, I will not sell it to just anyone and I will not sell it to a dealer.” I asked him how he knew which table I was referring to and he said, “I know what table you want, everyone wants that table”. I explained that I was not a dealer and in fact was a friend of Gerard who worked at the charity shop until he passed away a few years ago to which monsieur replied, “Madame Smith, I know who you are. Let’s go look at the table”. I was surprised he knew me by name even though I am a regular. There are many English in the area however in the past thirty years, I have yet to meet another American in the region and definitely no one from California.
He offered me the table for 120 euros. It was made of beech and had the original drawer which is hard to find. The top had some wear but was in decent condition. I was in. Seemed like a deal to me.
And then my daughter said “Why are you getting another table for the garden? What’s wrong with the plastic table? You said that you weren’t going to buy anything big because you were trying to save money”. And then I second guessed myself. She was right. What a buzzkill. I was trying to cut back on unnecessary items for the house. Running two households is expensive. Not to mention the twice yearly transatlantic flights. I didn’t really NEED the table. We raised our kids to be frugal with their money. Buy things you need and save for what you want. This advice I had given my daughter was suddenly coming back to haunt me and I was annoyed that she actually listened and took to heart what her parents had taught her. “OK, fine. I don’t really need it. Let’s go.” As we continued our errands and went on to the market I could not stop talking about it. I told the story that evening to some friends and relayed how I had given up the “holy grail of tables”. My daughter cringed every time I brought up the subject. “Mom, go get the table, I’ll never forgive myself”. My husband agreed. “If you want it, go get it”.
I went back the next day and it was gone.
So fast forward a year later and I am still talking about it. My daughter came to visit this weekend with her boyfriend. We worked on the garden which involved chainsaw’s and pick axes and several bottles of beer. We sat down to take a break and I couldn’t help myself. I relayed the story of the table to her boyfriend. I could see her face drop as I went on about how I will never find another deal like that again (I’m an awful person right?). Let it go!
Our neighbor Joseph was sitting with us and casually mentioned that a guy in our village was selling his grandmother’s farm table.