We have a dining room table. It's a nice round one, pedestal with a huge leaf to insert when we need to seat more than four comfortably. It has been in the household for about 20 years now. At first, it was the crown glory - a shrine of sorts, used only on the most special of occasions. It was beautiful in its shiny glory of natural oak with a gloss varnish finish.
Time has a way of diminishing the luster and glory. Once revered, it soon passed and became another common item in the household and was used for every meal, banged on by new grandchildren and quickly modified into an instant craft table for water paints, glue, staples and sharp instruments of destruction. The once glorious table suffered the abuse of their little hands as they painted birdhouses, carved assorted things and created every possible craft. If that wasn't indignity enough, it also was assaulted with spilled milk, soft drinks, coffee, gravies and an assortment of cooked and uncooked foods.
After last year's Christmas holidays of crafts, gift wrapping and meals, I would catch my loving wife quietly studying the table. Finally, right after the Spring rains had stopped she voiced her quiet musing.
That kitchen table needs to go. It's a sight. How much do you think a new dining room suite would cost?
Whoa! I'm retired. Money is limited and that old kitchen table is solid oak. I was taken aback. What was once a dining room table was now a kitchen table. The poor thing had lost all its status symbol.
Well, I really do like it but the top is so... so... It's in really bad shape.
It was a feeble offer but one I decided to hazard. We could sand it and re-varnish the thing.
And so began the singing mantra. We need to sand this table top and get it back into shape. But I did nothing.
Last week we were in WallyWorld - every town seems to have one now-a-days. My wife strolled through the store as the storm raged outside. I really don't worry about getting wet - I mean, I'm not afraid of me being so sweet I'd melt. No, it's more like, I'm old, I've got wrinkles and water seems to add more wrinkles - THAT's my fear. Anyway, we suddenly found ourselves in the hardware department. We picked up some sheets of sandpaper for my little hand sander... and a can of oak finish varnish.
Yesterday I heard a strange sound as I worked in my shop creating stakes for my tomato plants in the garden. The cherry tomato plant was suddenly going renegade on me and I needed to harness it ... but that's another story.
I ambled upstairs and found my wife sanding the table top. Since I seemed to be reluctant to approach the project, she took it upon herself to handle it. She sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded.
Years, decades of abuse disappeared. The gouges, the marks, the dull, listless areas -- they all vanished. My wife was stripping away the memories. She spent a diligent amount of time on the project. The table was satin smooth again.
Tonight she applied the first layer of new varnish. It still needs two more applications but already I see the table we bought twenty years ago.
I gazed in the mirror in the bathroom just a few minutes ago and for just a fleeting moment, wondered. Could that sander do a similar justice to me? Could it rid me of those creases, gouges and whatever then get a new re-varnish and look all spiffy again?
Wouldn't that be great?
Until next I ramble on...