Steve Garagiola: The Butcher Block

The butcher block has seen it all.


DETROIT – Our butcher block is a beast. At 30 by 30 and 300-pounds, it is the Ndamukong Suh of butcher blocks. It has stood tall and proud, used every day in every home we have owned for the past 32 years. 

By rough estimate, I have wiped and oiled the butcher block over 10-thousand times over three plus decades. I tell you this because of a thought that came to me last night as we cleaned up after dinner-- What a life story the butcher block could tell. Mind you, I have no emotional attachment to furniture. I have a hard enough time with emotional attachment with people. But, the butcher block has seen it all.

It was a birthday gift from my wife. For me, it was love at first sight, an inanimate version of a St. Bernard, too big for your apartment, but you love him anyway. It fit in each of our first three kitchens only because we accepted reality that the dishwasher could not be opened. A small price to pay. 

Fifteen years ago, when we took the leap of building our current home, our design plan started with the butcher block. How big did the kitchen need to be in order to be able to open all of the cabinets and the dishwasher? We designed the rest of the house around that. 

We sliced oranges at the butcher block when it was our turn for halftime snacks for one of our daughters’ soccer, lacrosse, or basketball games. It was the make-your-own sundae station for post prom (all-girl) sleepovers. It was Christmas and Thanksgiving, Friday night pizza, making lunch for school, carving turkeys, and baking cookies. It was the center of life (as the kitchen tends to be) with its joy and grief, laughter and tears, make-ups, break-ups, arguments, and hugs. It was homemade Play-doh with our three-year-old daughter, and now our three-year-old grandson. The butcher block has seen it all.

Someday, our two daughters will have to negotiate a joint custody arrangement. Unless I decide to take it with me. Okay -- I am a little bit attached.



About the Author: