... my Dad worked away from home most of my childhood.... as head of his own Maintenance of Way gang, the railroad supplied him with a small trailer to sleep in while he was on the road.... parked near a depot in some small town, he'd retire to that tiny trailer after his workday was done... hard work it was, too... he was a welder with a 5th grade education, but still managed to accomplish some amazing things in his life...

... today I went through his old barn - that he and I had built together when I was ten - and prowled through the dusty stuff... the man was a complete packrat.. nuts, bolts, hammers, light fixtures, log chains, axes, chainsaw chains... all shelved or leaning in corners or filling old Maxwell House coffee tins.... I even found an old baby bottle that was mine... shaped like a basset hound sitting on its hind legs....

... during those long hours he spent away from his family, he took up a few hobbies... at first, it was exercising... he'd jog or do push-ups after sweating and toiling all day on the hot tracks... later it was fence-building....he'd split a discarded crosstie into four pieces and then use an axe to taper the ends... making the bodies symmetrical.. then he'd bring the cross-pieces back home to be used as railings in a fence he was building on the weekends....

... but his last little hobby before getting ill, was making swords.... and just as with all of his endeavors, he dove in whole hog... using a side-grinder, an electric welder, and a cutting torch, he kept himself occupied every evening for years making swords...

... it hit me today hard... just how much time it must have taken him... and the great lengths he strode to keep his mind off of being away... he could just as easily have gotten off work and hit the nearest pub..... but instead he stayed there around that trailer and kept his hands busy... that just amazes me....

... I sorted through stacks and stacks of those swords today... each one different.. each one an example of a man who could work a 30lb sidegrinder with the grace, gentleness, and precision of a master....

... I picked out a small selection... six or seven pieces... and I'll hang them up in the garage next week....

by Eric on June 23, 2006 | Bullshit (10) | TrackBack (0) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

My dad killed himself as a sheet metal worker when we were kids. He worked well over 70 hours a week so we could live in a nice house, go to college. His hands were rough and always covered with calluses and cuts. These days, when I see him, it's always a shock to look at his hands...they are so smooth and unblemished.

Thanks for giving me a moment just to think about my own dad, and how lucky I am to have him.

Bullshitted by trouble on June 23, 2006 03:01 PM

I want to see pictures of those swords.

And bless your dad for filling his hands with hobbies other than beer bottles :-)

Bullshitted by Harvey on June 23, 2006 03:27 PM

Pictures please! I always love these stories about your Dad.

Bullshitted by Bou on June 23, 2006 03:43 PM

What a lovely story about your Dad. He sounds like he was a really great man. I haven't read here long enough to know much about him; I look forward to hearing more in the future and possibly a trip through the archives if time ever permits in my crazy life.

Bullshitted by Lisa W. on June 23, 2006 03:50 PM

It's cool that you have access to that stuff. Good story.

Bullshitted by Dash on June 23, 2006 04:06 PM

Thanks for sharing stories about your father. Yes, pictures, please.

Bullshitted by vicki on June 23, 2006 07:00 PM

Just one more person who wants to see pictures of the swords. They sound awesome.

Bullshitted by Dawn on June 24, 2006 08:32 AM

a hobby good for the soul, and it appears good for yours as well.

I challenge you to a dual, after we kill either the rest of that shine, or the rest of the absinthe.

I promise I am slower than your shadow, and I might be able to drag the sword behind me...

just a thought

Bullshitted by armywifetoddlermom on June 24, 2006 02:39 PM

Eric if you and AWTM do Absinthe, I want to watch. Last time I didn't see anyone hallucinate and I was so very disappointed!!

Bullshitted by Bou on June 24, 2006 04:41 PM

Sounds like good juju to me...

Bullshitted by Richmond on June 24, 2006 09:57 PM