We just had the last end of our old barn resided. That old weathered end of the barn had been staring at me for years. I’ve watched that barn age out my kitchen window for almost 35 years now. The rest of the barn got sided or revamped in recent years, except for the end that I look at out of my kitchen window e-v-e-r-y day. I told Mike that when we sided it, that I was going to reward my patience with a painted barn quilt displayed on the end of it so I could enjoy it e-v-e-r-y day. He was ready (as he had heard me say it for soooo long).
I am now in the process of designing what I want and seeking someone to paint it for me. Mike thought I should paint it myself. Although I’d consider it, I thought this project was one that I’d hire done. I may flip flop on that decision. It’s hard to shake that do-it-yourself attitude (“If I can do it, I should do it.”)
My dad was a great do-it-yourselfer. He was able to make anything that he or I dreamed up. He also wanted to improve on a standard design when possible. I remember him making me an easel and a nice paint box when I was in art class in high school. I still have the paint box that was better than the ones I found in the stores (not sure what happened to my easel…note to self…check Mom’s attic). When we were on vacation, Dad would see a puzzle and then go home and replicate it. Being a toolmaker (plus a good self-motivator and Super Man) he could do anything. I miss our projects. I still remember him taking me out to his tool bench in the garage when I was a kid. He took a wooden stick, taped on a battery, put a light bulb on one end then connected the current with a wire, and we had a flashlight! Who knew!?! As a kid, that was absolutely remarkable to see! Of course that was one of the simplest tasks he did at his workbench.
I still remember going out to his workbench to borrow his needle nosed pliers or some other tool needed for the task at hand (as I began to have some projects of my own). He had a brilliant mind, but some other people have that too. What Dad had to go with it was a helpful willing heart. While I was young, I saw it first hand at home. He would fix whatever Mom told him was broken. He would pour his own concrete birdbath or fence posts rather than buy them. He also helped others with projects: neighbors, friends, and the church. I remember he made a part for a neighbor’s old unusual car for which parts were no longer available. He would build things for church from shelves to coat racks. When I would stop by Mom and Dad’s after I was married, he would take us out to the garage to share his latest project.
He has been gone over two years now, but he has never left my heart. Every night as a child when I went to bed, he kissed me and told me he loved me. It wasn’t mushy, but it was sincere. He was not a touchy-feely kind of Dad. He related best through sharing projects and sharing life. But I never questioned he loved me and cared for me and would do anything for me. In my adult years, he came over and built us a TV antenna tower, a clothesline, helped us build on to our house, helped us work ground when we got behind because of rains, and more. One year it rained so much that it was getting very late and the crop wasn’t in. We don’t farm on Sundays as a practice, but that year we made an exception. On Father’s Day (yes, that late) we kept all of the tractors running, Dad included. He wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing anything else on that day that was traditional to honor him. He was always more comfortable giving than receiving.
One time when we were building on to our house, my sister and I were laying the floor in the mud room; Mom was assisting. Dad was the only one available to watch Zach (a toddler at the time). We asked him to watch Zach, and I remember him being so confused. He was supposed to be the one “doing something.” It was funny. He was kind of beside himself, constantly trying to offer help to all of us. You see, Dad spent a lot of time with Zach (and with all of his grandkids), but it was usually fishing or making something in the garage, or playing in puddles. Not just babysitting, but building memories. I’m sure all of the grandchildren could confirm that one. He was just a do-er. That was his comfort zone.
So because I’ve learned to be a do-it-yourselfer from Dad, you never know. I may end up just having to paint that sign myself. I’ll keep you posted.