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Eating together has been a part of the human experience forever. However, eating around the table is a relatively recent development in the scheme of human history. Some people say it started with the Greeks, but most people say that the table really started to occupy a central place in dining during the period of the great halls in the Middle Ages. Yes, it’s true that we’ve come a long way from these often smoky, likely odorous, gatherings around large trestle tables, but if Niequist is right, and she probably is, we have plenty to be thankful for.

The tables in the Chrouser dining hall have a history of their own, and depending on who you are, the stories that you tell about those tables are potentially very different. Maybe you’re a veteran of the old dining hall, seated around circular tables, fighting your bunkmates for one of the eight chairs. And because there were ten people in your cabin, maybe when you lost that fight you were one of the two poor souls that had to be moved to the “overflow table”. Maybe you remember how obnoxious it was to navigate the clutter, carrying all sorts of highly spillable items.

It took lots of playing around, three mock-ups and just as many trial runs in the design of Chrouser’s table space. What was for certain was that the circular tables had to go. A square or rectangular table would conserve space and make for easier navigation. Another non-negotiable was that the tables needed to have room for an entire cabin, ten people. The vital task, then, was finding the right dimensions.

Once the design was chosen, the work was completed by a craftsman and woodworker in the upper peninsula. In the year 1994, 33 new tables were delivered to their home in Chrouser dining hall. Then we had the first ingredient of the HoneyRock family-style dinner properly surveyed, the table, the “beating center” of this peculiar community, I can’t help but wonder, what about you? What is the story of your table? How do you gather?

As a two part blog series, Lucas Taylor, one of the program assistants at HoneyRock, will continue sharing how we do meal time at HoneyRock - our history and our traditions. As we break bread together, consider how what has blessed this time is during your next HoneyRock experience.

- written by Lucas Taylor