Where The Lone Star State Meets The Puget Sound
A Fine Mesh Of Two Great Styles

Thursday, August 25, 2011


How blessed I was to have one of the most sweet and kindest men in the world as my father in law. I am going to share with you our keeping room table and in so doing I will be sharing a little bit
of the great man we called, "Pop".

Earle R. Bishop was born onto an East Texas farm in 1904. When I met him in 1979 he was already 75. I wondered, the year I married {1981} how long we could expect to have Pop around. I wondered again in 1992 when we celebrated the 60th wedding anniversary of his marriage to Ruth Bishop; and again in 2002 when 70 years was the occasion.

In 2007, barely a month after turning 102, Pop was called home to forever live with his beloved Ruth.

Look at one of the many things Pop gave us~

A wide planked table that has been in the Bishop family since before the civil war
The table is mostly pegged together, as I hope you can see in this picture~

There are also square nails (without heads)~

I have set the table in a festive way  because I am preparing a nice dinner for Larry tonight.

To honor Pop, I used a table runner with our family initial. Pop would not have felt at home
at the table adorned with 'fuss'. He was a man of simple and utilitarian taste.

Pop once told me that his mother always kept a piece of oilcloth on the table; tacked securely
underneath the table top. That way she was able to simply wipe the table with a damp cloth
after each meal.

When Pop was 15 his family's farmhouse was wired for electricity for the first time. When I say
'wired' I mean one electric light bulb that hung over our old table.  Pop would do his homework
there, by the wood stove, on cold winter nights.

Popped loved me very much so he put up with my frills. Can you see the chair? 
We have a set of four that also came from the farm. 

This pressed-back pattern was very popular in the late 1800's. These chairs really say "Texas" to me.

Another part of the table's history that I love to tell is that husband Larry rescued the table
from the old abandon barn in the 1970's. No one else was interested in it! You know how it goes,
'out with the old' and all of that.I am so grateful that Larry had the good sense to take it home.

The barn had flooded at some point and there are tell tale marks on the table. Yet I still worry
about Pop's table and I fuss about coasters and such. After all, it's in my care now!
Larry reminded me a few days ago that our table is more than 150 years old. It is not ever
going to be perfect; it doesn't have to be.  Larry has asked me to stop fretting. And I've decided
he's right. Pop would have agreed.

Earle R. Bishop was such a talented and bright man.  He grew up in a rural farming family yet Pop
highly valued education. He not only had a Bachelor's Degree and teaching credential but a
Master's Degree from Texas A&M as well. He taught industrial arts at the high school level
for many years.

Pop was highly skilled and so much of what he knew he passed along to his boys. I am sure that is
why Larry is able to make all of my house plans and dreams come true.

My table has intrinsic primitive appeal. It would be a head-turner in an antique store and would
command a respectable price. But its value to us as a piece of family history is immeasurable.

I dearly love my table because I dearly loved Pop. I feel like a little part of him is with us
all the time. And that feels good.

Please visit Debra's blog! Today is Vintage Inspiration Friday and you'll have a wonderful
time browsing all the wonderful links.

Blessings on your day~



  1. Dana, that table is wonderful with such great history and memories. My late father in law was in his seventies too when I met Doug. His dad was a very hard worker without much education. He lived out in the country in a small house that Doug later added a bathroom on to. He already had lost a leg from a tractor accident and then when he was 86 was caught in a brush fire that he started and did not realize his artificial leg was on fire and once he did he had already burned bad from the waist down. A neighbor saw him and called 911. He was rushed to the burn unit at Grady hospital in Atlanta known to be the best for burn victims. They had to take his good leg and his nub off as high as they could go because he was losing fluids as fast as they went in. They gave him a 10% chance to live, but he beat those odds and lived to be 96. He was a tough old guy!

    Thanks for sharing your story of Pop.

  2. What a wonderful story Dana, the best part being that's it's all true and alive in you. Precious. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dana,
    How wonderful that you are keeping Pop alive in your heart and your home! Thank you for sharing your family's history with us. I love the table itself as well as the table scape you created on it. Clearly your home is a reflection of who you and Larry are as both individuals and as a couple. May you continue to create and celebrate sweet memories.

  4. What an amazing piece of history and a wonderful legacy from a wonderful man. Loved reading this. I love pieces that pass down history. How fortunate you are to have this charming one-of-a-kind table and the pressed back chairs! Thanks so much for linking up to VIF! xo, Debra

  5. What an inspirational story! Family pieces are priceless. Thank you so much for dropping by L'Heure Bleue At Home.