The Picnic Table

Today is a guest post from an unlikely, but wonderful, person…my husband! As usual, one of my brilliant ideas means quite a bit of labor for Rick. Check out Rick’s thoughts on the gift of hard work and the benefits of imperfections. 

Last fall we got an old picnic table that someone no longer needed. It needed some work, but was still pretty solid. My wife said we’d take it. I hitched up the trailer and we went and got it. They were glad someone took it and we were glad to have it.

When we got it home I took it apart. Some boards needed holes filled, a few smaller pieces need replacing, and some pieces needed work. Everything was weathered. The bolts and screws were rusty. One board for the top was badly warped, so I stacked all the other pieces on top of it and left it for the winter.

Spring came and it was time to get going. We have an outdoor graduation party planned for early summer and we wanted the picnic table to be done by then. I spent several hours sanding and filling in holes. One piece was still warped, but not as bad. I had to replace three smaller pieces of wood, but was able to with scraps I had. I decided to replace the screws and bolts since the old ones were rusty. I stained the wood and put the table back together. I spent a lot of time, but little money. Somehow, by doing the work, it felt like it was really mine.

As I spent my time sanding and staining the table I wondered if it was really worth it. It was old and worn. The wood was banged up and cracked. If I had done nothing I’m sure we would have spent the summer picking splinters out of each other. When I was at the home improvement store they had new but unfinished ones on display for $99. I could have just bought a new one and stained that, but I noticed something. Those new ones lacked character. My picnic table had character. Every ding and dent gave it a story. The hard work I put into it made it that much more special to me. There’s a feeling of accomplishment and pride I have with restoring this table. I didn’t just go for something new. New doesn’t always mean better. Working on improving what I already had was worth it. I put in the hard work and made something better. It might not be perfect, but it’s mine.


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