As I sat down to supper, I noticed that Ray had left long, purple marker streaks on the table when she was making elephant pictures last night. This led, naturally enough, to experiments: what takes purple marker off a Southwestern-style table?

Water doesn't.
Murhy's oil soap doesn't.
But magic erasers do.

After seeing exactly what the magic eraser did take off the table top (ewww), it was necessary to wash the whole thing with Murphy's oil soap. The water turned yellow, then orange, then brown, and finally black, after which I tried the magic eraser again...ewww. I eventually had to stop; the eraser was shredded.

I washed off the table with clean water and took some lemon oil to it. It didn't look like I was doing much, but when I stepped back, I could tell where I'd oiled and where I hadn't. I discovered a purple spot that I'd missed, but the magic eraser was too filthy to rinse out anymore. Next time. Lee came in and asked me whether I wanted help: he could work on it this weekend...

I told him no, it was a pretty comforting thing, being able to clean the top of the table. I've liked the smell of Murphy's oil soap ever since we had to use it on the pews and woodwork in the Stephan church, and the lemon oil was much subtler than I thought it would be. Doing something simple, repetetive, with more or less immediate results? I'm selfish that way.

I considered buying a plastic tablecloth, but I don't think I will. What's a table? What's a table for? An investment? An heirloom, to be passed to future generations, without blemish or particular character? When you have a table with wood that beautiful, you're supposed to be able to see it. You can't see if it you only take the cover off when company comes. If then.

I think I'll find a few largish placemats for projects, though. The one we have is being used to put the plants of questionable life span closer to the window, and has a crack down the center that looks like it was cut with an X-acto knife. I'm not sure whose fault that was.