Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Bar and the Cat

My father, I’ve been told, has always been interested in woodwork.  Born in the early 1920’s he grew up in the era of prohibition.  As prohibition ended a local family came to him and asked him to refinish a bar they had in their home.  Apparently at the beginning of prohibition they walled off the room the bar was in so as not to lose it.  In any case the years of being away from all care had taken its toll and was in desperate need of refinishing.  
Dad, being eager to earn some extra money to buy some new tools, gladly accepted the job.  Great effort was put into bringing this magnificent wooden heirloom back to its once beautiful self.  Cleaning, stripping, sanding, more cleaning more stripping and more sanding, the job went on for weeks.  
Finally after  weeks of work he was applying varnish on the last few inches of the bar, when the family’s cat jumped on the far end of the bar and swaggered from one end to the other.  Each princely step left a little paw print in the newly coated finish.  The cat walked down the length of the bar and my father saw hours of work growing with each step.  As the cat passed in front of my father, my dad dipped his brush in the varnish and slapped the cat on the back end.   The cat of course jumped halfway to the ceiling and began to run away.  Dad, knowing he couldn’t leave the varnish on the cat’s bottom, grabbed the cat to clean him off.  So what do you use to clean up varnish? Well turpentine of course!  With a soaking rag of turpentine the cat got his bottom cleaned.  As I understand it the  cat never stepped foot in that room again.