My Kitchen Table

By Lloyd Graff

Lloyd Graff at his kitchen table.

I am writing this piece at the kitchen table in my house. It’s where I write most of my blogs. It’s the one place where I can concentrate most easily, despite various newspapers, salt and pepper shakers, and reading glasses laying askew.

The table usually is covered with a tablecloth that has been washed a hundred times. I like colorful tablecloths on my formica covered table to add interest while I eat or write or just look out the window.

For a house or apartment to be a real home you need a place, like my kitchen table, where you can instantly unfold a tired, stressed and obstinate body when you stumble in from work.

When I’m on a trip, or unfortunately languishing in a hospital room, I long to sit down at my kitchen table with my wife, Risa, toast an English muffin, sip some coffee, and breathe. Our window overlooks the backyard, a currently moribund vegetable garden, flowering trees soon to bloom and a basketball court where I used to shoot free throws and layups by the thousands.

I always sit at the table with our unfettered 4’ x 8’ bay window on my left and the toaster and refrigerator on my right. There is pleasure in routine and habit. It frees my mind to not have to make choices about trivial stuff, like where am I going to sit and what shoulder I need to look over to take in God’s colors. I have enough decisions each day. Some things should be simple.

On my right, magnetized on the big GE refrigerator-freezer is a mélange of photos. We change them from time to time, but some stay frozen for a decade. They are all family. Several pictures are of my three granddaughters. The most prominent one shows them in Cubs tee-shirts. There is a shot of my Dad in a long tan tailor-made wool overcoat donated by several husky sheep, a 20-year-old photo of Risa with her three brothers and one photo of her in a Taekwondo uniform kicking her leg in the air at a totally absurd angle. The refrigerator is always our visible album of a lifetime lived quite happily. Displaying pictures of the people who have contributed so much to our joy just six feet away from the kitchen table warms the room. Refrigerator magnets are one of the great inventions of our time. The magnetic picture frame is a brilliant refinement of the original genius.

Looking straight ahead, about the distance of a high school 3-point basketball shot, is my 60” flat screen Samsung TV. The remote control, which I often leave on the kitchen table, can ignite the Korean beauty without me lifting my ample behind off the chair—another of the gifts of modern technology that I am grateful for. It is my vital link to baseball, basketball, golf and all those wonderful sports that a creaky body and lousy eyesight have deprived me of playing. Some folks decry the time wasted in front of screens, but I am not one of them. My enormous television is a companion. I believe my time at the kitchen table imbibing sports is a perfect respite from a life of work and stress.

I hope each of you has a place like my kitchen table, where you feel safe and nourished. I think it is why we have houses. It is why the DIY Network is so popular. Everybody wants that welcoming nest or den that turns a residence into a home.

I hope you will share your welcoming comfortable spots with us and tell us why they are so special to you.

Question: What is your favorite spot in your house?

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8 thoughts on “My Kitchen Table

  1. Chuck Snow

    I have a special spot in our living room. It is a big comfortable fabric covered chair. I sit there and read once in a while when time permits. It is quiet and somewhat of my personal sanctuary when I am alone. I also prefer to sit there when I co host my monthly or twice monthly call in show. It just gives me that sense of privacy that I sometimes seek.

  2. Jill sevelow

    I moved into a co-op in Evanston three years ago. I fell
    In love with the cozy little sun room, big windows capturing views from three directions, and giant Windows brining in glorious sunlight on, well, some Chicago days. I have an overstuffed chair, a little table for sitting, and my big cat lounger in there. My cats and I spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out together there, though only one of us sips chai tea. Thanks for asking! I remember your kitchen table well.

    1. Gail

      Jill, I recognize that name! Didn’t you used to write for this magazine when it was actually printed and sent out?

  3. Dan Garing

    My spot is the garage. I recently moved to a house with an attached garage. Hard to get used too. I have many things from many years in the machining business. I also have many things of my fathers from the same. I can lose hours piddling around in my garage. I have not built anything at work for many years because I am upper management so I build things at home in my garage.

  4. Fred Messmer

    I believe that anyone over 50 has an affinity for the kitchen table. That is where my folks spent most evenings and even guests (called company back then) also found comfort and refreshment around the kitchen table. I have had many homes in many states, but I always found myself at whatever Kitchen table I was fortunate enough to have. I now even have a home office, but it sets empty more often than not, as my laptop awaits me in the kitchen.

    1. Kim

      You don’t have to be over 50 to appreciate the kitchen table. In college I refinished the wood table my father made 30 or 40 years ago for our kitchen. I took the table to college; the one at home got replaced by one from my grandmother who passed away. I still have that table in my kitchen now where it serves not just for family meals, but for my daughter making crafts and doing homework, family card games and hanging out with friends and family. Misterchipster is right – the kitchen is the heart and soul of the house and family.

  5. Misterchipster

    Kitchen – it’s the heart and soul of the house and thus the family. When we built our house it was purposefully designed so if need be we could even spill over into the living room for the 40+ family and guests we host for the annual Easter dinner. It is the place were a healthy family gathers to commune and dine on a regular basis. Add the kitchen table and it becomes a family work space, only to rearranged by the arrival of friends and family stopping by or the kids and grandkids as they burst in with all their youthful energy and exuberance. People make a home but the kitchen is the keeper of the heartbeat that lives there.

  6. Fran Farnell

    Sounds wonderful and cozy.
    English Muffin? With what?
    Butter, Peanut Butter, Jelly?
    Most kitchens have or should have a fire extinguisher.
    I hope yours does for when you ignite the Korean.


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