House near park to become unique gathering place
By late spring, Marion will have a gathering place like no other.
Michelle and Merle Flaming are creating a gathering place for family, friends, and friends-to-be in a former house at 626 E. Main St. that once housed an alpaca products store and a stone-oven pizza shop.
It will be called The Turquoise Table.
Right now the Flamings are renovating the building, putting in new floors and kitchen. They hope to have The Turquoise Table up and running by mid-May or June.
“The concept of the Turquoise Table began when I picked up the book, ‘The Turquoise Table,’ by Kristen Schell,” Michelle Flaming said.
The book is about creating a place where people can gather around a table for fellowship, building community, and healing during difficult times. Right now is an especially difficult time because people are lonely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Schell’s book started a movement.
“Turquoise tables have become a sign of hospitality all over the United States,” Flaming said. “It’s a safe place to sip a cup of coffee, tea, or a soda.”
Flaming, who retires in May after 31 years as a second grade teacher, is doing this as the next phase of her life.
“To me, it’s like you don’t retire — you just get new tread on your tires,” Flaming said. “My prayer is that The Turquoise Table brings neighbors and the community together. I believe loneliness has become an epidemic in our country.
“The color turquoise is known for its healing abilities. The color can create emotional balance and alleviate feelings of stress and loneliness. Everyone wants to belong.”
Flaming said the location, in the middle of town and across from the park, is a perfect place to bring people together.
She envisions a place for families, small groups, moms and kids after a day at the park, and church groups.
She plans for it to be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with a pot of coffee, fresh lemonade, sodas, soft serve ice cream, and home-baked goodies such as peanut butter pie, cheesecake, and cupcakes always available at an affordable suggested donation.
Suggested prices will be posted and a lock box for donations will be installed.
She’s already collected Bibles that people can read there or take with them.
“Friends of The Turquoise Table can leave prayer requests, anonymous or not, which will be prayed over by a group of prayer warriors,” Flaming said.
Anyone looking for prayers, a Bible study group, or a church to attend can write down their name and how to get in touch with them and drop it in the prayer box. Flaming or a volunteer will contact them.
She hopes to enlist volunteers to make desserts, pray for those who need prayers, donate items such as paper plates and napkins, make coffee, lock up at night, and visit with guests who come to The Turquoise Table.
“Wherever you feel God’s calling,” Flaming said.
If people want to rent The Turquoise Table for private gatherings, it will be available during hours it is not officially open.
“We can rent it out at a low cost of $50,” Flaming said. “We just ask that you leave it in the shape you found it.”
A rental agreement can be filled out and placed in the money box a week prior to the event.
To volunteer, or for more information, Flaming can be reached at (620) 381-3085.