I never understood why my mother wiped down the coffee table with a damp dishrag after every time we ate dinner. Is that filthy of me to not understand? Spills, yes, I understand. By all means, red Kool-Aid rings have no place on the dinner table. Flecks of beef stroganoff Hamburger Helper should be promptly disposed of as soon as this episode of Full House is over. But my mother would wipe down the orange wood of the table regardless of whether it needed it or not. She would sponge up salt kernels or pepper flakes or even nothing at all, so far as I could see, leaving a damp shine over what had once been a large round dining table prior to my father sawing its legs off in the garage to better see the TV over.