Kevin Holten: A very prized possession

Kevin Holten: A very prized possession


Do you have a prized possession? I do. It’s my grandma’s kitchen table and it’s old. I don’t know how old, but it’s much older than me. 

It was always in their house in town during my lifetime. But before that, it was always in the country, helping to feed people who’d put in a hard day’s work, tilling the land and feeding the cattle.

Next to it, in the very early morning hours or late at night, sat my uncle’s work boots. You’d have to get up long before the sun or be there when it went down to see him, because he put in long days.

And most of life’s news, problems and issues got discussed right there by that table, with elbows resting on the top, and thumbs and forefingers in the handles of steaming cups of coffee.

It is funny how an inanimate object like that can be such a big part of your life. It’s almost like it had a life of its own, and it begs the question, will it be there when I get to heaven like my pet crow and favorite horse? Of course it will. But then it’ll be grandma’s once again, just like it should be.

Nowadays it’s probably Facebook that updates grandparents on what’s happening in their grandchildren’s lives. But back then it was all about sitting around that kitchen table, talking about accomplishments, challenges, upcoming events and stages in life.

My dad went there almost every morning to have coffee with his mom for a long time after my grandfather and uncle had died, and for as long as she was there. I thought it might have been the most insightful act of his life; so simple and yet so important.

For me, very early on, I could hear my mother’s and grandmother’s muffled voices coming from that table into the living room where I was playing with the Lincoln Logs that were kept there just for me.

And that table is where I helped my grandmother make donuts, while sampling plenty of them in the process. And it’s where I dipped sugar lumps into saucers filled with coffee and listened to grown-ups talk about grown-up things, while simultaneously learning my family history.

It was propped up against the north wall and a window that looked out at what was a vacant lot in the summer and a skating rink in the winter.

I could skate there for hours until my toes and fingertips began to lose their feeling, and then I went in for milk and cookies with whomever I brought with me, for warm-up time, because grandma was always there, noon or night, snow or sunshine.

Now, here at the Lone Tree Ranch, I keep that table between the two main windows in my kitchen, just like she would, where during breakfast I can look out at the hills, coyotes, antelope, cows, bunnies, calves and horses. 

I wonder, sometimes, if that table is happier being in the country once again. And some days I also think about all the people that put elbows on that wood over the years and imagine them being there once again with me. 

But then I realize that, in so many ways, they never left; my heart, that is. 

Kevin Holten is the executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.


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