When I married my husband, he was an old house enthusiast so I joined him in his quest to take care of our old house. Words like unpainted woodwork, refinished furniture, antique patina, and original hardware became common words in our home and part of the conversation whenever we talked about houses in our neighborhood. You could say we became the poem, House, by Isabel Fiske Conant:
He who loves an old house Never loves in vain, How can an old house, Used to sun and rain, To lilac and to larkspur, And an elm above, Ever fail to answer The heart that gives it love?
And love it we did.
A huge part of this commitment to our old house was taking good care of it. Well-taken-care-of hardwood floors are part of the crowning beauty of an old house. To see the dull, unpolished patina of an old hardwood floor is truly something to enjoy in every old house but it is the conscientious owner who is careful to vary walk patterns and call out the warning against scratches from furniture and animals.
These old-house, wooden floors became the obstacle to our daughter's heartfelt desire all through her years at home. Every birthday and at Christmas time she made a list of things she wanted and a dog was always on that list. Every year, twice a year, she did not receive that particular item on her list, even though it appeared every time. When she asked about it, the answer was always the same.
"We have hard wood floors and we don't want them to get scratched up."
Don't worry. She received many other items on her list but the desired dog never popped out of one of her many brightly wrapped packages. Being a patient girl, she always hoped that next time she might receive the golden ticket.
After getting married, she and her husband moved into the apartment above our garage. She was older. She was married and on her own, making decisions and working at a good job. But the landlord, my husband, had a "no pets" policy. Again, she was unable to procure her desired pet.
Until one day.
Our daughter and her husband came in and sat down for a talk with her dad/landlord. She quietly spoke, "I think its time for us to get a dog, Dad," That got his attention and she went on to explain the extensive research she had done. She landed on the perfect dog for them, a little Teddy Bear puppy, a Shih Tzo, Bichon Frise mix. He was small, did not shed, and his toenails could be kept short. "What do you think? We're ready to take good care of him. He won't be a problem."
My husband loves our daughter but this was really hard for him! For many years his reason for not getting a dog was solid and he still believed it! But here they were, sitting down with him, asking him to reconsider. He thought about it, asked his friends about it and even prayed about it! In the end he decided that she had earned her reward through persistence and by doing her careful homework. So he said yes, and even helped her pay for it. Her brothers and I cheered him on, agreeing that he had made the right and best decision.
We have grown to love our little Moby, pictured above, and are thankful that our daughter did not give up on her life-long desire to welcome a little companion into her life. He's been a fun addition and I can hardly imagine us without him. I actually consider him, and our son's dog, Baxter, to be my grand-dogs! Oh the heart of a grandma has room to welcome them all!
The word "wooden" always brings my thoughts to hardwood floors: their practicality, their beauty, the simplicity with which I care for them, and now, Moby, a dear little life who has softened us and who certainly has not and will not ever scratch the hardwood floors.