Lessons from a Homely Experience

Some years ago my parents lived on a farm, and while spending a summer vacation there I thought to improve the condition of the homestead somewhat. We had an old-fashioned hardwood table with a heavy base, whose polish had worn off and which looked unsightly. In my ignorance of its value. I put a coat of paint upon the old table and then varnished it. I did this without my father's knowledge, but without the slightest apprehension that it would displease him. After it was done he said very quietly, "That table ought not to have been painted, it should have been sand-papered and polished again." His gentle remark made very little impression upon me at the time, as I felt justified in what I had done and thought the table greatly improved.

It was not until a year ago last spring that I fully realized what a mistake I had made, and then came a great desire to correct it. The table was moved into the shed and I commenced work, scraping off the paint inch by inch. It was very hard work, and so slow that it looked like an endless undertaking. I kept at work, however, doing a little at a time, and finally the paint was all removed. Then the surface was treated in the proper way, and all well until my ignorance was again manifested and the polish was uneven. As if to further test my patience, perseverance, and endurance, it all had to be rubbed off and put on again. It often seemed like a foolish waste of time, and the temptation to give it up came to me a great many times, but the thought that it would please my father, more than anything else, inspired me to continue. When the result was finally accomplished I felt well paid for my work and thankful that I had continued my efforts to the end.

"A Shut-in"
March 25, 1905

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