I’m not completely incompetent when it comes to using tools…but I’m close. Growing up with a carpenter for a father means I learned a lot about hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and the like from an early age. Mostly, it was a lot of things not to touch, but watching him make things out of wood, playing in the sawdust, and the whole house smelling like fresh-cut maple and pine are some of my best memories. Even though he’s more computer geek than woodworker now, he’ll go down into his basement shop from time to time and, when I visit on the weekend, sometimes I’ll poke around a bit too. Usually, I’m looking for a tool I’ll borrow and bring back next week.
(Alright, geez. Usually, I’m looking for a tool I’ll take home, use to make something worse, and then call him to come over with more tools to fix it all properly. *sigh*)
Over the summer last year, I was down there in his workshop looking for sandpaper. I found it in a cupboard drawer, a hundred different grains of it, and all stacked together. While flipping through to find something on the finer end of the spectrum, I discovered one of those old cardboard cigar boxes. Was he secretly smoking cigars down here now? Hoping that wasn’t the case — he quit smoking after his first heart attack — I opened the box up to see why he’d tuck it beneath a pile of sandpaper.
Valentine’s Day cards. The box had 43 Valentine’s Day cards inside.
At first, I thought he had a stash so he didn’t need to go out and buy them. No envelopes, though. Then I opened the top one and discovered it was from my mom. They were all from my mom and, in my dad’s boxy handwriting in the bottom right corner, he’d written the year. There were 43 of them because he’d kept every card she’s given him since they were married when they were 18.
My dad might not go in for big demonstrations of love and affection, but he’s a huge romantic anyway. He’s just quiet about it, and that’s one of the things I love about him.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody