To make the veneer shine

I am certainly not the best housekeeper. My mother, if she was still alive, would be the first to agree. My sister would second that. Both of them were/are immaculate housekeepers. Always cleaning. I’m too lazy to be doing it every day, although this house could sure use a little cleaning every day.

Terry and I have been joking about his job of vacuuming. He usually does it once a week, but with the kittens, we feel like it needs to be done every day.

“Sure wish someone would vacuum around here,” I will say right after he has vacuumed and the kittens have immediately tracked litter into the hallway.

Then there are the leaves I track into the family room from the backyard when I come in from watering each morning.

“Sure wish someone would vacuum up the yard trash in here,” I lament as I sit on the couch, taking off my flip flops.

Every so often I get ambitious and clean the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, using orange oil. It keeps the wood looking good, especially when you consider that the cabinets are 40 years old. I’ve written about that task. Today I took the orange oil and a roll of paper towels to church to clean the conference table in the office. Made me feel very ambitious to be cleaning somewhere beside my own house.

Last Wednesday, at Bible study, sitting around that conference room table, I realized that it was in pretty bad shape. I contacted the office administrator to see if I could bring my supplies and clean the table since there wouldn’t be any Bible study today. She gladly accepted my offer.

I arrived about 11, after having my hair done, and got busy. The table is at least eight feet long, maybe 10 feet. It seats 10 people comfortably, and can seat up to 14 if we crowd our chairs around at odd angles. The table sees a lot of use. The Bible study, the money counters, the staff meetings, committee meetings, new members’ class, prayer meetings. The table is of the 1960s vintage. Sleek wood. It was very dirty and stained. I used at least 20 paper towels applying and rubbing in the orange oil.

The table began to shine and its long-lived veneer began to come through. As I worked the oil into the table, I thought of the many people who had sat at that table. The decisions that had been made. The work that had been done. The friendships. The laughter. The tears. It could tell some stories. I prayed as I worked. That God will bless the people who sit at the table. Bless their words, their work, their life.

The pastor wandered in and asked me how I knew it was so dirty, from just sitting at it. Wood should look good, even if it has been used for so many years. I told him that I liked wood furnishings, having so many in my own house, and even though old, I don’t believe you get rid of something just because it no longer looks new. Instead, you care for it. For you see, the wood has a story to tell as well as a job to do.


10 responses to “To make the veneer shine

  1. sounds like you did a good job!

  2. I like this. I like the idea of a table that has been put to good use and is now getting special care and attention. This seems important, somehow.

  3. Orange oil? I’ve never heard of that. I’ll keep my eyes open. Our bedroom furniture could use some good cleaning.

    • A visiting pastor, from the denomination’s high sierra camp, came through while I was working, saw the difference between the cleaned and the dirty wood and asked what I was using. He took a picture of the bottle and then asked where he could buy it. I get mine at Orchard Supply Hardware.

  4. What an interesting post. Wood tables are becoming extinct, so I’m sure glad you made this one shine. I’ll bet many more stories will be shared around that table. 🙂

  5. Nice metaphor about the wood and the people.

  6. I find it’s always more fun to clean somewhere other than my own house.

  7. I love this post. You find joy in the best places.

  8. This is just such a comforting entry.

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