For last week's Alphabe-Thursday, I posted my son Joey's story for Studio 360's Significant Object contest, so I thought that this week I would post my own story about the Significant WOODEN Object. As you know, neither of us won the objects about which we wrote, but that's o.k. My own house is packed full with "objects" and I really don't have room for more stuff. In fact, I really should do some significant throwing out or giving away some of the "collectibles" I have. Not my cocktail napkins, though! Rod was complaining recently about the lack of storage in one of the kitchen cabinets, but I told him to "get over it!"
For my "X" post this week, I offer you an XTRA "W" in the form of this story:
The late summer heat was oppressive, but Granddad’s basement workshop was cool and dry. Dust motes floated in the sunlight from the tiny windows, and the air was filled with the aroma of old wood shavings and lubricating oil. A single, unadorned light bulb hung from a cord above the ancient workbench against one wall.
It was at that massive workbench that Granddad had created his inventions, many of which now stood against the other three walls. Around ten years ago, Grandma had made me drag an overstuffed arm chair, faded and worn from some forty plus years of service, down the steps and into the basement.
“He needs a place to rest when his back gets tired,” she told me, and her eyes were warm and filled with love for the man who had been her soul mate for almost seventy three years.
Granddad sat in the old arm chair while I brought out items for him to identify. The keepers were put in one corner of the basement for “the children” to pick what they wanted to keep as a memento. The rest I tossed into barrels for the trash men to take away on Friday morning.
“Now that little invention was for your dad,” he said, as I brought out what appeared to be a step stool on wheels, with a long handle attached. “He was small for his age, you know. I made that so he could roll it around the house and step up to reach things he needed. You know, like a drinking glass out of the kitchen cabinet. He loved that old thing until the wheels went out from under him one day and he split his head open on that old secretary in the parlor.”
One by one, the unusual items, created out of his imagination, were sorted and placed in their designated piles. There was one last object, a small wooden thing, made in three pieces and put together with two bolts. I turned it over and over in my hands, but the usefulness of this piece eluded me.
“What’s this, Granddad?”
“Oh, that!! Now that has a story, let me tell you! It’s my best invention ever! I sold a lot of those back in the day. Yessir, I surely did!”
He took the piece from me and stroked it lovingly, like an adult might stroke a cherished toy from childhood. I knew that feeling. I still had all my lead soldiers that he had made for me by pouring molten lead into the tiny molds, then polishing and painting them. If one got broken, or lost, he would simply make another.
“What does it do, Granddad?” I asked.
He leaned forward and began to study the piece, turning it this way and that. After a while, he leaned back and rested his head on the headrest of the arm chair. His eyes told me that he was somewhere in the long ago past.
“What does it do?” I asked again.
After a few seconds, he looked at me, and I could see tears welling up in his eyes.
“I don’t remember,” he said.