I got my mother's coffee table refinished, and changed out the
crackled and cloudy plexiglass top for a pristine pane of glass. It
looks amazing. My mother used to sell real estate in Jamaica, and rescued this table from being discarded by a family whose house she was selling back when I was about twelve. It was already old when she brought it home. I don't think it ever looked this good, even when my
mother cared for it. She would be pleased, I think. I learned that this table,
which I had assumed to be a machined, mass-produced thing, albeit more
than eighty years old, is actually quite valuable, according to the
refinisher, who wanted to buy it off me for a couple thousand, as he'd sent
a picture to an antique dealer he did business with in North Carolina,
who would have bought it from him for that plus a bit more. Who
knew? Needless to say, I would never sell. My kids were intrigued.
"That table that we battered so hard is worth so much?" my daughter said, amazed. I guess my mom knew why she wanted me to have it so badly
that she brought it for me on a commercial flight from St. Lucia, wrapped in blankets and cable cords and boxed with miles of packing tape. It was August 2003, the day of the citywide blackout in New York City, and my mom was bringing her grand kids home at the end of their usual summer vacation with her by the beach in Rodney Bay. Under dim emergency lighting powered by an airport generator, the coffee table rolled out on the baggage claim carousel along with all their suitcases. Two decades later, I finally did right by this cherished piece.
The living room is coming together slowly. I find I am now absolutely delighted by the fact that I don't have to walk out and see those raggedy broken-down old couches anymore. Nothing's very fancy in there but everything is whole and sturdy and useful, and I am starting to enjoy it all. I changed out the red cushions for some lighter ones that I found for a song. I like them. My husband also has no idea how much that blue plant pot he bought makes the room for me. Now, I just have to replace the curtains. The new media console can wait till my next flurry of home refresh activities, if indeed I even bother with it. What's there is a cheap thing, but inoffensive, so I think I might just turn my attention elsewhere.
The news, y'all. How do you stand it? I hate that I lose hope sometimes, and grow numb. Thank God for the change makers, the ones who never stop raging and fighting. I am in awe of them. I need to do more. But honestly, I have no idea what will actually make a difference. I fear they may all escape consequences—and we all know who "they" is.