by Susan G Holland
The man you see here is my son in law. All his life Dave has been putting things together, taking them apart, building whole houses, but nowadays it’s general contracting, remodeling, fixing things!
Noteably, Dave, in the middle past, has been a top notch hardware salesman in a building supply store. He was always the one for a clueless shopper to ask for a replacement for “this little screw that fell out of my hinge.”
I know because I have asked him to find me things in the store.
He will take the little thing, and look at it, top and bottom, and say…what you need is a [specific name and description] and it looks to be a [size and composition]. Off he goes to one of those aisles with a million — no a thousand million — little teeny cubbyholes with shiny little metal objects in them in various sizes from invisible to too-heavy-to-lift.
His hands run quickly over the shelf and land on one little box . He pulls it out, and lo, there are a bunch of the things you need!
“How many do you need?” he asks, and slips the things into a plastic baggie, scribbles something on it and points to the check-out counter. And he’s off to the next customer.
I live in the basement of Dave’s house, where he lives with my eldest daughter and all kinds of projects, and people and goings on.
I paint and carve. Sometimes Dave even asks ME for a tool, like a one-hair paintbrush, or some fine sandpaper. But usually I am doing the asking.
He finds me working on my One-Painting-a-Day Project on the table in my workroom. He looks down and is stopped short. He is looking at the painting I am wetly putting together and says….”Hmmmmmmm.”
He is right. There is no such thing in existence as the little things I am painting on my Specialty Hardware painting. I have imprinted canvas frame shims (wood) into wet gesso* on a small painting surface and then made those resulting marks into imaginary hardware that is good for nothing, except for my painting.
Dave smiles and shrugs. He is used to me making un-useful stuff like art, and wishes he knew how, but can’t take the time out to learn, busy guy. But what, he wonders, is the use of a painting like that? What is it FOR?
I have to love this guy. He is impossible to reach when he’s on a project — goes by with the determination of a sloop in a race, without looking anywhere but forward and usually into the wind. He is the step father of my eldest grandson, and so was the scoutmaster, and the teacher of mechanics and building and engineering to his young charge since 35+ years ago.
Patient Dave’s garage is half full of unfinished canvases and parts of pedestals and picture frames and rolled up art supplies and little drawers with MY stuff in them. (I can verify that I will not be able to find what I am looking for at first attempt. I am SO different from Dave in that way.)
Dave sometimes comes through the room when I am focused on the computer and pokes me in the ribs, that rascal. That’s one of the things we both do — tease. In this teasing, he reminds me of my late little brother, with a twinkle in his eye and a whole lot of patience for this goofy old lady who lives in his space. A good laugh is a healthy thing.
I feel as if he loves this old lady who is, actually, quite like a piece of Specialty Hardware — not useful or really of any particular dimension, or description — this old lady feels lucky to have him in my way — — no, I mean in my Life!
Susan G Holland
Published ©2017 in The Story Hall ; photos by SGHolland