The Pleasure of Dusting

by John C. Westervelt

With bridge scheduled at my house in ten days, I decided it was time to dust. As I wiped the shelf of the whatnot on my kitchen wall, I thought once again about my Junior high school woodworking class project. Seventh grade boys took shop classes evenly divided between woodworking, metalworking, and mechanical drawing. The seventh grade girls must have been taking sewing and cooking classes.

First, with a considerate mother, I mounted my whatnot on the wall in our house. A generation later with a considerate wife and a fresh coat of paint matching the inside window shutters, I got to hang my boyhood prize on the kitchen wall.

Junior high has become middle school, and computer classes have replaced shop classes. In some ways that is too bad. Even though shop classes were not relevant for my college preparatory curriculum, they did prepare me for a lifetime of pleasure.

I built book shelves for the living room of our first house. My mother-in-law still uses bookshelves which I made with a hand saw, a square, and a hammer when I was a newlywed. The pleasure has continued through the years. Each winter for the past half dozen years, I have made a wooden frame to hold stained glass windows for family members.

As I prepared to dust the shelf below the mirror in the entry hall, I put away the winter candleholder and got down Nelda’s spring arrangement. The purple, light blue, and white flowers in a brass pitcher convinces the viewer that spring has arrived. A china rabbit standing on her hind feet showing off her pink eyes and nose will remain beside the bouquet alertly searching for eggs until Easter arrives. She’ll enjoy the bright view because she knows that after Easter she’ll go back on the closet shelf for eleven months, even though the spring flowers will remain a while longer.

It was only after I became a widower that I discovered the pleasure of dusting.

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