House Story, Chapter 5

Loose Oak Flooring_edited-1Photography by D. Plasman

Not long ago, I got a deal on 300+ square feet of solid oak flooring. Mine for the taking. Sweet! All I had to do was tear out the tongue ‘n groove boards in the church parsonage that was scheduled to be razed, then haul it to our house in Grand Rapids (two and a half hours away). Still sweet!

Using a flat crowbar, a hammer, and knee pads, the job took me two full days — two of the coldest days this past January, in a house with no heat. Actually, the flooring cost me several visits to the chiropractor and a deep-tissue massage. Worth it.

Some of this wood will cover the kitchen floor; more will go into the bathrooms. I have an idea about building a dining room table and a desk with tops of sanded oak. I love it when two personal passions merge: saving stuff from the dumpster and repurposing old materials. Nicole, the “Rehab Addict” on HGTV, isn’t the only one rescuing things from the trash heap!

Stacked Oak Flooring_edited-2

On a seemingly unrelated note, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. 6 million Jews were killed during WW II. The number would have been higher had it not been for the efforts of more than 24,000 “Righteous Gentiles” from 45 countries who risked their own lives to hide, shelter, and transport Jews to safety.

Oscar Schindler was one of these rescuers; his story is told in the movie “Schindler’s List.” Employing Jews in his metal works factory, feeding and keeping them safe, Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) saved several thousand from certain destruction.

A powerful scene toward the end of the movie occurs when Schindler must flee for his own safety and say goodbye to the people he has spent his personal fortune to save. Though he’s done so much, he anguishes over the opportunities he squandered: “This car. Goeth [the camp commander] would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. This pin…two people. This is gold. Two people. He would have given me two more, at least one. One more person. A person . . . I could have got one more person, and I didn’t! I — I — I — I didn’t!”

If I have eyes to see and ears to hear, every day brings opportunities to improve another person’s life, maybe even save it. In most instances, the cost to me is so low I don’t even realize the price.

I invite you to watch the movie clip from “Schinder’s List” and see what rescue operations are yours for the taking.

[For previous installments of A House Story go to and pull down the CATEGORIES menu and select A House Story]




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One Comment

  1. Nika May 5, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for this reminder, Dan!