A few columns ago, I described our family de-cluttering project, initiated in part by the installation of new flooring.
This is the rest of the floor story:
We had to get new floors because our water heater broke and flooded the living room. The 25-year-old, solid oak hardwood floors became warped and had to go.
In order to trim our costs, we told the flooring company that we would remove all the old planks and dispose of them.
I mentioned in that earlier column that we gave the wood to a carpenter friend. What I didn’t say was that my husband initially suggested we just take the boards to the dump.
They had once been beautiful, but now were covered on the bottoms with glue and on top with the scratches and scars of 25 years of wear. Every board had a “tongue” on one edge and a groove on the other.
“Nobody’s going to want that and I don’t want to deal with it,” Amos said. “Just take it to the dump.”
Instead, Chandler and his friend Sarah took a side trip to see if the carpenter friend, Puff, was interested.
Puff, aka Peter Lauffer, is a character. He’s quite a free spirit who is accustomed to living off the land. He raises chickens, he grows vegetables and herbs, and he told us he once lived completely off the grid with no electricity or running water.
He also is an artist, though he might eschew that title. But he paints and creates what makes him happy, with whatever paint he can find or is given, on whatever materials come to him.
When Chandler and Sarah pulled up in his driveway with the load of old flooring, he was amazed and incredulous. “What?! You’re giving that to me?” he asked. “Man, that’s solid oak!”
He accepted the “gift” with gratitude. “Chandler, I can’t thank you enough,” he said. “I will make you anything you want with that wood.”
When Chandler returned home and relayed Puff’s delight and his offer, the idea was born for a dining table, something we hadn’t had in a decade.
“Puff can make anything,” Chandler said. And so he did.
With just basic measurements to fit our space, Puff got right on the project. A week later, Chandler showed me a photo of the work in progress. It was astounding. “This is a pattern he calls Gods Eye,” Chandler reported.
I recently learned that the pattern is symbolic of the power for seeing and understanding the unknown.
About three weeks later, the table was finished and delivered – along with a bench he made to go with it, just for fun. We were thrilled, for several reasons.
The measurements we gave were not just to accommodate the space. I wanted to have room for precisely six people: our family of four, plus the boys’ girlfriends.
I envisioned joyful meals around a table together, whenever they are all in town at the same time.
We could also invite other friends and family. Over the past many years, our only dinner guests have been those willing to eat outside by the firepit or under the backyard canopy.
This simple table is life changing.
Created by an artist’s hand, recycled from a disaster, and with enough symbolism to discuss for hours, it stands proudly in our new dining space. We chuckle that we really are eating off the floor.
We see some lovely celebrations and meals in our future.