For various reasons, having to do with trivialities like the layout of our old apartment, Jackie and I had gotten into the habit of dining in the living room, often in front of the TV.
At each of the places we’ve lived since then, the layout was more conducive to dining at the table. Our summer place had a kitchen table in the kitchen, and we took nearly all of our meals there. In our winter palace, we put our dining table in the area of the living room that was obviously intended to be the dining area—closest to the kitchen, with a lamp over the spot for the table—and continued to eat at the table (even though much of the space was occupied by boxes).
Although we’ve pressed a good bit of it into service as a pantry, there’s plenty of room for our little dining table, and we’ve continued to eat at the table.
Our old tablecloths had held up pretty well because they got little use, but now that we were using them all the time, Jackie wanted some new ones. She made one from a lovely piece of batik cloth that I’d brought home from a business trip to Singapore, which I declared probably the best tablecloth in the western hemisphere—until Jackie took some heavy muslin (that we’d previously used as a dropcloth to protect furniture against the depredations of the cat at our sublet), cut it to size, and dyed it some lovely spring colors.
After years of lazy, uncouth behavior, we are feeling very civilized.