February 1, 2008
Things I learned from my Dad
My father was a builder. Of houses, including this one, the first of two he built for our family. A chain of Dog & Suds restaurants. My first elementary school. Twice, he built the radio station in town (it burned down when I was in high school). An alcohol treatment center with soaring beams carved by the local First Nations band (there is irony here). He constructed all manner of furniture: tables, beds, cabinets, a wooden play stove with an oven and knobs that turned. A hope chest with my name carved on it for my twelfth birthday. A sled when I was two.
See that house at the bottom of the hill, the one that he was building? My mom would pack me in the sled with his lunch and I would sail down the hill to eat with my Dad and his crew. There were oranges, I can still smell them, and the sawdust into which we dropped the peels. I remember this; sitting on a sawhorse and eating oranges with my Dad. Waiting for the moment that lunch was over and we would get back to work. My Dad had the trowel ready and I went to town taping and caulking the hall closet. After I went home he would tear down the results of my labours so the closet was ready for me the next day. I never caught on.
My Dad could figure out how to build anything, and he made my brothers and I believe we could do the same. It's been seven years since he died; seven years today.