One day sometime in December, our coffee table and matching, but taller end table left home for my husband's cabinet shop.
They normally kit out the living (or dress-up) room at our house, offering support to a couple of decorative whatnots and an ever-burgeoning Norfolk pine tree.
The oblong tables in dark, reddish-brown cherry with slender Queen Anne legs have endured a lot of living since we brought them home new in 1991. They often accommodate slipper- or stocking-clad feet, usually when company isn't about; the occasional book and magazine; and drinks adrift on coasters used to protect the finish.
But careful as I was, years of children chasing cats, running their Hot Wheels off the edge, doing artwork and omitting coasters when I wasn't looking, all left the tables more than careworn.
Traces of wide felt-tip markers, white circles from coasterless drinking glasses that sweat as ice melted, talon scratches from a surprised cat seeking escape from a child or an over-attentive dog were evident when sliding the dust cloth along.
Even pit marks as if someone had tested a ball-peen hammer to see the resulting rounded, Chicago rosette dents. And although my husband builds cabinets and adamantly doesn't refinish furniture, he hied them off to the shop for a once-over.
They reappeared on separate days without fanfare in late January.
They're even prettier now than the matching sofa table that was always out of harm's way, ensconsed behind a sofa or against a wall with decorative stuff on it and no room for errant hammers, cats, toys or drinks.
The damaged tables received a light sanding to remove the old finish. It lifted off the marks, trails and scratches. Then a stain went down, always a challenge to match because if you don't know what was used in the first place, it's hard to get it right the second time around.
The top coat protects everything and this time the beautiful wood grain is more visible. Looks like they're set for at least another 19 years. I'm grateful my cabinetmaker stepped outside the box and fixed 'em up.
Kindergarteners through third-graders can participate in a First Aid for Children Today class that will be offered by the American Red Cross office in Walla Walla.
The F.A.C.T. class will be from 2-4 p.m. every Sunday, from Feb. 27-April 3 at Blue Mountain Red Cross, 175 Park St. The cost for six courses is $12 per child and parents don't have to stay.
Children will receive a certificate upon completion Call 525-7380 or www.bmcredcross.org/ or e-mail Mari at Red Cross, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Contact Annie Charnley Eveland at email@example.com or 526-8313.