We’re sitting here at the end of a grueling work day, fresh from our much-needed showers, admiring our week’s accomplishments, and talking about our Dads on this special day. Both of our fathers were children of the Depression, which made them handy by nature – in a quirky sort of way.
James’ Dad, William, was a man of many skills – an upholsterer by trade, and a whittler by choice. He once carved a 3-foot wooden chain for us, crafted from a single 3-foot length of cedar. He carved the links one-by-one, interlocking! It’s a magical marvel and one of our most cherished possessions. But he was also known for his practical solutions. My favorite was his 8-foot-long pole (like a pool cue) that he fashioned so he could lay in bed and turn the TV off. Obviously before the days of remotes, it required serious manual dexterity and aim to hit the little “off button”.
My Dad, John, was a printer of books. He apprenticed and learned the business from the bottom up, playing many roles in the printing industry, branching out into magazines and other media. He worked hard to be handy, and often succeeded. Other times … well … he specialized in skinned knuckles. And never knew how he got them. We often joked that he could walk through an empty room and emerge with skinned knuckles. He made up for his clumsiness with his amazing creativity. Dad could look at an everyday object and see a work of art. We once built a round coffee table using a car wheel rim as the base with a round plywood top. It was way cool … and he let me (13 years old) stencil a folk design on it. Talk about a leap of faith.
Both men raised families of 4 kids, left wonderful memories, and died way too early. They enjoyed each other, and made interesting contributions to each others lives. William helped my Dad find an old red pickup truck he’d been searching for. “Ravishing Ruby” became one of Dad’s proudest possessions. And when an ice storm caused the old cedar tree in our pasture to buckle under the weight, then split down the center, Dad called William to see if he could use the beautiful cedar wood on one of his whittling projects. That’s how we got our gorgeous chain.
So, we know that our ever-so-practical Fathers would be pleased tonight to know that we finally completed our Laundry Room. After loads of paint, beadboard with chair rail reclaimed from the dining room, and a new washer and dryer, we are good to go. No more stinky socks!
So Long from BCG,
If you’re curious about our Letters from Basecamp Gallivance Series, these posts will give you a flavor.