Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Happy Birthday Dad
Today is my dad's 63rd birthday. How in the world did my dad get to be 63? He and I had our problems when I was a kid and when I was in high school. Now we get along fine, though we don't see each other more than three or four times a year. Realizing that he is 63 makes me very sad, though I don't know exactly why. Is it because I feel some of his pain and wish he didn't have it? Is it because him being 63 makes me realize that I am 32? Is it because I feel some guilt for moving away from Indianapolis when I was 18? Is it because I wish something about him (or something about me) had been different?

In honor of my dad, here is a "Jim Hubbard" story.
"Boy, we got a lot of work to do today". That was the sentence that woke me up most Saturday mornings during my childhood. This particular Saturday would turn out to be more frustrating than most, though years later it would turn out to be more comical than most. My dad had bought a van -- a plain looking van, like you would use to transport boxes of something, or run a small buisness out of. My dad, however, was going to personally customize this into a family conversion van. This particular day was the day to install the picture windows in the sides (the van came with only the front and rear windows - "boy, you'll pay top dollar to have those windows put in by the dealership."). My job was to hold the light and hand over the requested tools. My dad's job was to take a hand-held electric jig saw (I guess that's what you call it), and after measuring and tracing the location of the windows, to cut holes in the sides of the van where the windows would go. Here we were, sitting in the second most expensive thing our family owned (second only to our house), with a tool designed for lesser purposes, getting ready to cut holes.

I sheepishly said, "Dad, do you think these blades will cut through the sides of a van? Are you sure we should do this?"

"Boy, hold the light," was the only reply.

Then it happened. The hum of the saw began. The deafening grind of metal to metal quickly followed. And not more than 10 seconds later "bam" followed by an expletive form the old man. He had broken a saw blade. Lucky for him, our garage contained at least a half dozen extra blades (three of them right where they belonged, the other three we had to "hunt").

Long story short. The rest of my Saturday was spent holding the light, listening to the same procession of sounds. Hum, grind, bam, expletive. Hum, grind, bam, expletive. We took a short break around noon (I ate lunch, he went to the Central Hardware to buy more saw blades). The projoect was eventually finished. And, in all honestly, the van ended up looking fairly nice. We all knew, however, not to sit by those windows on a rainy day.


Post a Comment

<< Home