I was thirteen that fall and practicing diligently in my driveway for basketball try-outs. Time after time, the ball would hit the rim and bounce off to the side. I'd scramble for it, but no. Some evil force would suck the ball into the garage, wedging it between the wall and a giant piece of plywood. Over and over, I'd have to get down on the concrete floor and fish that ball out with a broom handle.
I hated that board.
I hated it even more every Thanksgiving. That's when my brothers and I had to haul that splintery slab out of the garage and carry it awkwardly up the back stairs and into the house. My Dad would oversee the whole operation anxiously. "Don't gouge the walls!" he'd warn sharply as we maneuvered into the dining room. "Don't scrape the door jamb!"
Finally, our skinny arms shaking like Jello, we three boys would shuffle into our small dining room and carefully lower the plywood on top of the table.
Voila! Gussied up with a starched white tablecloth, a table for six-plus-plywood became a table for twelve.
Unfortunately, the next day, we had to do the entire operation in reverse.
I hated that plywood with a passion.
Now, after a decade in the furniture business, I've learned that the holiday plywood plank is a common practice. Home Depot sells a lot of plywood for these once-a-year gluttonous gatherings. So, speaking from experience, I have two observations.
Beware of the candied yam casserole. That sucker is heavy. If someone accidentally parks it on the wobbly and unsupported edge of the plywood, that casserole is going down. Hopefully, it won't end up in someone's lap.
Attention, Thanksgiving cooks: you are not engineers. An over-sized slab of plywood perched precariously on a tiny tabletop is a recipe for disaster.
Secondly, there are better options. In our stores, we have an assortment of tables over eight feet in length. Two of my favorites are the Stephen Staples Ten-foot Woods Hole Cafeteria Cypress Top table and theProvence nine-foot barn board table .
What to do with the plywood in the garage? Lean it up against a tree in the yard and turn it into a backboard for your budding soccer or lacrosse players. The kids will love it. Everybody wins when you buy a large dining table at FCG.