The other day, something came through my inbox that reminded me of my dad. As most of you know, Dad died in ’06 from cancer. My dad was a really interesting character -the kind of guy that knew a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, and could fix more or less anything mechanical. He was cheap – so cheap we used to give him a hard time about it. He found me my first car, a 1982 Honda Prelude, for $500. Little did he know that when it rained, it turned into a swamp in the back seat from some sort of leak that no one could find. I resorted to a shower curtain over the back seats.
Dad was the type of guy I’d call when something broke at my house, and he was able to walk you through fixing it over the phone. I once installed a light fixture with him on speaker phone. And he came to visit once and the first thing he did was fix our hot water tank’s valve, that we didn’t even know was broken. He was skilled mechanically speaking, and it’s a trait I wish I had more of.
When I was a tween and we had just moved into a sleepy little beachside town, my neighbour, Mr. Smith, had a shop. And I would spend countless hours in the shop with Mr. Smith. This was before child predators made moms freak out and keep their kids in bubbles (and I’m glad my mom let me! I had fun!) Mr. Smith helped me learn how to use a router, and a jigsaw, and if you put those tools in front of me today I don’t think I could actually identify them now, but give me a quick reminder and I’d be back at it. I made clocks for friends and family – wood clocks with old saw blades for faces. They sound a lot less nice than what they looked like. Although, I’m wondering now as an adult if all those people I gave those clocks to were just being nice when they told me how much they liked them, and they really filed them under “G” for garbage after the obligatory amount of time had passed. I know I liked making them.
I’ve been thinking lately that I want to find something like a little travel trailer, or a tent trailer one day, and one day rather soon. Gone are the days when a tent – especially our tiny two man tent – is going to cut it. But it’s important to me that Kale gets to taste the outdoors and go camping. I’m grateful I had Girl Guides and that both my mom and my dad were avid outdoors enthusiasts. I’ve been trolling Craigslist for a while now, trying to find the best deal, but it’s so confusing and I don’t really know what I’m shopping for and what features I really need anyway. This is the type of thing I would have tasked my dad with – finding me a little trailer in the best possible shape for the least amount of money. He had a knack for finding deals, and whatever needed fixing up he was generally able to do it with very little effort.
Sometimes when people die or leave you for good, you realize just how much you took for granted all of the little skills and talents they had, and all of the little skills and talents that made them so special. I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy this week – I seem to every year around this time as the February doldrums get to me – and I’ve been thinking about those that have passed and those I’ve lost but are still living. Regret tastes awful and is so humbling.
A friend of mine’s teenage son took his life this past week. My heart is hurting for her and I am reminded to tell my loved ones how important they are to me. You should, too.