Time Well Spent

I’ve been thinking a lot about my father lately.  That’s partly because he would have turned 80 on May 4th.  And it’s partly because of Memorial Day.  And it’s also because I’m still learning things about him I didn’t know before.

I didn’t always have the best relationship with Daddy – the fault for that lay on both sides, especially when the teenage girl hormones kicked in.  Watch out!  Things got a little intense there for a couple of years.  But in spite of the drama that cropped up now and again, he tried to teach me things, the way any good father does.

Daddy was an immigrant from Hungary, so he didn’t quite “get” America all the time. But he did know tools.  He had a lot of tools.  Lots and lots of tools.

He’d inherited some of them from my mother’s father.  He bought many others.  He especially loved power tools. Hey, he was a guy.  And he tried to teach my sister and I how to use them.

Back then, we didn’t always appreciate the lessons, but now I can appreciate them just what he did.  Working with my father, we learned that we didn’t need to be afraid of using tools just because we were girls. We could hammer nails. We could use a jig saw. We could take pieces of extra wood and make stuff.

For myself, the tools also gave me a way to bond with my father when our relationship was rocky.  I still remember how proud he was the year he gave me a power drill for Christmas.  He used to save the Sears Hardware catalogs for me and mark different pages with things he thought I should get.  We would watch home improvement shows and discuss whether or not we could do what they did if we had all of their power tools.  When I moved out, he gave me my own toolbox.

Most importantly, as my sister and I grew older and had homes of our own, we weren’t afraid to try to fix things ourselves.  I’ve fixed my own faucets – using wrenches he gave me.  I’ve built shelves from excess wood.  I’ve done some repairs on my windows and doors, and I wasn’t afraid to use an electric saw to do them.

So thanks, Dad! I am a firm believer that everyone – boy or girl – should have a toolbox of their own – including power tools,  and that everyone should learn how to use them safely.

Now, get out there and fix something.

 

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Comments

  1. Hey, I got a Crafrsman Power Drill from my dad too. After he died, I was supposed to bring all of the workshop stuff home from Fla, but it’s still sitting there on the work bench.

  2. Betsy, what a beautiful tribute to your dad. He was very proud of his girls, you know!

    • Betsy Horvath says:

      @Nancy: Thanks very much, Nancy! We all loved him a lot. There were just a few….difficult days for me when I was in the teens and early twenties. LOL

  3. Margie Shepherd says:

    I often get misty(as you say) when I think of the “conversation” I had with “him” while preparing for the yard sale, in which a lot of his tools found new homes. I feel that when we sold many pieces from his vast collections of tools, it was a way of having his spirit live on, as many of the people that bought tools were preparing a toolbox for their child heading off to college.

    • Betsy Horvath says:

      @Margie Shepherd: Plus he rattled a saw at you! LOL I know he loved those tools. And it was so great that he taught us to use them. Would we have even thought we could take apart a shower stall to rescue a zebra finch if he hadn’t? 🙂

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