During the recent holidays ( I use the term recent very, very liberally) we were fortunate to have some friends stop by the house on the way to Florida. This was not only great because we got to see some long-lost friends, but also because it motivated me to actually start and finish a project that I had promised to my wife several weeks prior. You see, sadly, I am a bit of procrastinator In fact I made up a motto years ago that procrastination is the greatest motivator, and for me that is true.
The project was a dining table. Now I am not talking about a high-end fully lathed and routed Ashley furniture dining table, but an old fashioned barn wood style table. The only reason I even said I would attempt such a crazy thing is that as we shopped around this area for furniture, Tracy was oft drawn to these ratty old rectangular, beaten down un-fancy tables. And these beaten down ratty tables, had high-end price tags with at least three zeroes after the leading number. The more I looked at them, the more I was convinced that I could do it. I just needed the prodding.
Finally, about two days prior to arrival, just when I thought it wouldn’t happen, I was gently reminded that we needed a place to sit for our big family Christmas dinner with friends, and the little square garage sale table was not going to cut it. I wandered slowly out to the garage pondering what I had talked myself into, when I had an epiphany. There strewn across the gray slab concrete of the garage floor were four pallets left over from our move. Worn down wood, slivers and splinter, ratty old pallets. Perfect! Exactly what I needed. Inspiration and motivation instantly hit and we were off to Lowes to pick up a few more pieces of wood and some miscellaneous materials, and the building began.
Frantically, the boys were tearing apart two of the pallets providing me wood pieces for our project, while I engineered a way to mold two pallets together. There was sawdust flying, hammers and crowbars destroying, saws sawing and screw guns smoking, and dad quietly yelling out directions as we set out to make up a table on the fly. Soon it started to take shape and it actually looked as if it may work. There was no grand design, no pre-planning, just action.
Within four hours we had a nearly finished product. Four square legs holding up an 8 foot by 4 foot surface. It was rough, it was dinged and dented, it looked as if it had been made in a barn, pretty much exactly what my wife ordered. Upon her arrival home, I could tell by the look in her eyes she was well pleased. She pointed out a few extra-rough spots that perhaps I could touch up and then it would be ready for the final round. I did as she wished, and by that evening we had already applied the first coat of paint and stain.
Humbly, I must admit, I could not believe that we had made that from a couple of pallets and some store bought planks. It was pretty much exactly what we had seen out shopping. It was giant, it was rough and far from perfect, custom fit to our dining room,and for Tracy it was perfect. But perhaps the best part was not the finished product, the finished process. The process of me, my kids and wife coming together to construct something that we not only needed, but that perhaps we can always have.
I hope we always have room for this table, but I will always regret having to move it, because knowing how much food we require at family meals, I slightly over-built it. But we wanted it to be huge, we wanted it to be special and we wanted it to be ours. There is only one more thing that it needs, the main thing that we built it for, our friends and family