Monday, April 18, 2005

in his shop

In his shop Daddy improvised
like a jazz musician.
Virtuoso of rivets, solder, screws
he repaired hinges with leather
lengthened a steering shaft
for the tractor-drawn binder
braced wobbly chairs with welding rods
reincarnated metal seats
into lawn furniture.

Lightning from his welder
like brain synapses
crackled creations into being.
Pounding hammer
tapping chisel
whining file perfected
riffs of leather, metal, wood.

–V. Nesdoly (from Calendar © 2004)

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On this day 94 years ago, my dad was born. He died in 1975 of complications from bone cancer. If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t get to know him better. He was quiet and introverted. I don’t remember him telling me he loved me in words, until he was sick unto death. It was wonderful to hear it, but I always knew it in my heart.

There was a building on our Saskatchewan farmyard where he worked – his shop. I remember flashes of light coming through the windows of it as he welded things.

Another thing which reminds me of him is the smell of diesel fumes. I remember clearly the day a few years ago a city bus swept by me. I registered the smell with a note of familiarity combined with a sense of feeling secure, and realized I was remembering the smell of the old diesel tractor on the farm, and his presence.

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Oh my goodness. Just after posting this, I see Mr. Standfast has put up a post:"A Tragic Nostalgia, Robert Frost and the Longing to Return" . Isn't that just too serendipitous! (I hope my nostalgia isn't 'tragic.' I think remembering the sights and sounds and smells of yesterday can be a healthy thing. But, no, that isn't the place we go for life-giving sustenance.)

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