Warm weather means family BBQ s and get-togethers: sitting on the deck or at a picnic table in the park and enjoying the companionship, laughs and good food.
One summer, Dad decided to build a picnic table with attached benches, just like the ones you find in the park. He was a mechanic, extremely handy around the house and very precise in his work. He bought the wood, hardware and paint and began the project in his basement workshop. We could hear the saw and hammer, the radio playing country music and a few soft expletives here and there when something didn’t go as planned. Jack and I sat on the stairs and watched our father create this heavy-duty picnic set—believe me when I say a tornado couldn’t have blown it away!
Finally, the set was built, sanded and painted--it was handsome, and we couldn’t wait to get it out in the back yard. Dad opened the basement door and we all took a side of the table, lifted on the count of three and started up the stairs to the yard.
Oh, no, no please it can’t be! The set was too wide and wouldn’t fit through the door! Dad calmly removed the door frame, but no use, it still didn’t fit! It became deadly quiet, you could hear a pin drop. I’m sure Dad had some choice words ready to shout, but we were on site and he had to choke down the words, gritting his teeth. Instead, he dismantled the set; we pitched in carrying the pieces up the stairs. He calmly and methodically put the picnic set back together again in the yard—just like Humpty Dumpty. Once put in place, the set was never moved again and we enjoyed many years of barbecues with family and friends.
Sister-in-law Patti remembers what is probably the best “Dad” moment. He casually told us about this episode because none of us had been home at the time to witness it. Mom had purchased a full-size bathroom rug. Dad measured and knew he had to plane the bottom of the door so it would move smoothly over the rug. He removed the bathroom door and brought it down to his workshop where he carefully cut 1/4-inch off the bottom rather than plane it. He brought the door upstairs to re-hang.
“Oh **!!&#, what did I do?” We weren’t home so he could let the words fly and turn the air blue!
Dad had reversed the door and cut the 1/4-inch off the top rather than the bottom. The door knob was on the left side instead of the right and there was now a 1/4-inch open space at the top of the door!!! Back down to the basement he went. Fortunately, the strip he had removed was in one piece; he used wood glue and reattached the strip. He sanded, repainted and then re-hung the door. Dad was so exact about this work, one would have to look very carefully to see just where the strip of wood had been replaced.
“I couldn’t believe I did such a dumb, stupid thing,” he laughed while telling us of this mishap. We’re sure he edited his story for our innocent ears!
Yep, Dad made a couple of “mistakes;” but we won’t forget some of the awesome, treasures he created: wood grated cheese containers where he painstakingly punched hundreds of holes into a piece of sheet metal—while straightening the garage last week, we found it on a shelf; it now hangs on the garage wall in full glory. His Christmas trees were a work of art, shimmering and shiny.
Thanks, Dad, for showing us that no one is perfect--and, what’s a little “blue air,” right?