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Friday, August 5, 2011

My Father's Birthday

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In his mid twenties
My father was a great influence in creating my parsimonious, creative nature. I watched him create things all my life. He took me to the site where he was building our house with the help of family.

 Mama packed me my own little lunch. I was so proud to go alone with Daddy "to work." I promised to mind.

The very first time I went, Daddy told me exactly where to sit and play and brought me blocks of wood, small ones from the ends of 2x4s. I ventured close to the house to get blocks of wood, dropping from the roof as some guy cut them and let them drop.

I knew enough at four not to go when the blocks were falling. But, I did not mind and sit in one place. I knew what I was doing! I ran over, bent to gather the pieces of wood. The guy hammering on the side of the house finished hammering and let the hammer drop by his side as he held it....right onto the top of my head.

I must have screamed for an hour. Daddy came running. All the guys came running. Neighbor women came running. I never got to go back again.

He made toys, swings, furniture, doll furniture, trunks for my sister, mother and me. He repaired anything that needed to be repaired. He could figure out almost anything with substitutions. He lived through the Depression, so it was a way of life, a way of survival when there was no money. However, the generations before and after worked with their hands. I have a cousin who is some sort of engineer that works with glass in buildings, not the windows, but structural parts make of glass. That is not exactly hands-on work, I suppose. Others have been brick masons, cabinet-makers. Often, they went beyond the apprentice bit and got degrees in their field.

Oh, it was through his love of words, crossword puzzles, and reading constantly that I learned to love words.  I don't just love words, I love the itty bitty parts of words. Phonemes are like atoms....the smallest part of a word that still has meaning. That is how crazy in love with words I Yes, I should have finished the degree in Linguistics.

He was far, far, far from being a perfect or even good father, but he gave me words and creativity. Oh, yeah, I was the only brunette born into a family of platinum blond siblings.

Daddy was born in 1915, died in 1990 at the age of 75, and would have been have been 96 today.


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