Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not a single splinter was had

While Cheyenne was recuperating from surgery over the weekend, I chose to busy myself with a project since I wanted to stay at home with her and there is only so much Lifetime TV that a girl can watch before her brain rots. (Truth.) The project I decided to tackle was to oil the two teak chairs and table that I have, the two chairs and table that my father bought for the covered porch in the back yard of our house. This was a task that, long ago, I HATED, didn't want to do, resented being asked to do, and pretty much sucked in my efforts to get it done. My efforts? Lazy and lame.

My father had a love affair with wood. He used his enormous hands to care for wood, sand it, treat it, oil it, build boats and fences from it. Me? I'd try to help but had very little interest and would quickly run out of the very little patience I had for such an intimate relationship as caring for any wooden anything as much as my father did. But I respected his relationship with wood and I loved to watch his hands work the wood, heal the wood, give it life and color. I loved to watch his eyes and his patient determination to preserve wooden items.

After we sold my parents' house, the chairs and table went to the cabin where they sat outside for way too long, enjoyed but not cared for. They became dry and ashen from neglect. When I bought my new house, I realized that those chairs and that table belonged with me. And this past weekend I decided to give them their life back.

While Cheyenne slumbered on her bed on the porch, I swept the debris from between the slats, brushed the bits of accumulated dirt and dust from the corners, and oiled the heck out of every inch. Hand on rag, rubbing the oil deep into the thirsty wood, I felt my father's hands around my own, heard his Rub with the grain voice in my ear, connected my hands with the path of his hands from years ago.

And for the first time, it mattered to me, to do a good job on these chairs. These were my father's and now they are mine.  I experienced the wonderful relationship between my hands and the wood, between the dry thirst and then saturation provided by my own fingers. I felt the deep satisfaction of using my hands to take care of a piece of furniture so that I might enjoy it for a long, long time. Just like my father taught me.




Rocket Mom said...

The love felt thru a parents hands - working with wood, working with engines, learning to slice an avocado, learning to blend in the flour for the cookies. As I watch my own hands age I wonder what my kid will remember of my hands.
A great read, wonderful chairs.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Good job! I used to hate gardening as a kid. But now when I garden, I can feel my uncle with me, telling me how to care for some plant!

Writing My Novel said...

Beautiful! There is nothing like the warm, comforting glow of wood. I could see your Dad's hands guiding yours.

Linda@VS said...

Your father left you a legacy rich in possibilities, each of them entrenched in his love for you. Don't you know he'd be proud of the wonderful job you did on the chairs?

Duly Inspired said...


Thank you! Your words not only mean the world to me but they are true!

Also, the word verification is "ingiess," which I first saw as ingenious, and well, that's always been a great description of YOU!