Storycatching with Melvin: Building a Home
My grandpa’s jolly laugh made me quite certain he must be related to Santa Clause. Their bellies both shook like bowls full of jelly. They were both always exuberant and warm in my memory. Truly, there was nothing but love when I look back.
My grandpa would ring jingle bells on Christmas Eve when we were all tucked in bed, laughing “Ho ho ho” from the bottom of the stairs. He’d set us on his knee next to the fake Christmas tree in his living room, and we’d go fishing in one of those little handheld magnetic toys you just don’t see anymore.
I wish my grandpa were around today. I wish I could introduce him to Martin and show him all the things we have built together.
My grandpa was a carpenter; I think he would have been proud of what Martin and I have created.
We use his trowels with wooden handles to spread concrete and mortar. I’ve climbed up and down his old metal ladder at least a thousand times. Sometimes when my parents are visiting, Martin even quotes my grandpa from stories he’s heard to make my mom laugh.
If a passion runs through our blood, I know I got my desire to build from my grandpa.
It started with the Lincoln logs he made my siblings and me. My brother and I built little log cabins over and over. When my sister got older, we tried to move all our Barbies into the cabins. And always, my grandpa’s warm chuckle surrounded us.
One by one, some of my cousins and I went into my grandpa’s garage one summer. We were building birdhouses, and I didn’t see why we couldn’t all just stampede in there to build birdhouses together. “One at a time,” my grandpa kept saying, as my grandma tried to quickly divert us back into the house for some lemonade.
Imagine the insanity of a half-dozen kids swinging hammers and smashing thumbs! I couldn’t see it then.
But I still remember my brother walking down the concrete steps, an enormous grin on his face and a beautiful pine birdhouse wrapped in his embrace. He’d just made his first home, and he couldn’t have been prouder. “Yah!” everyone cheered. We oohed and awed; I scrabbled toward the garage to be the next lucky kid.
And now, twenty years later, I am walking down a concrete path. There’s a great big smile on my face. I’ve just built my first home. Can it be? It’s not for birds. It’s for me.
Thank you for showing me the way, Grandpa.
Happy Halloween today! We hope you are all safe and warm. Living in the country without kids makes for a rather uneventful Halloween. So we’re doing the next best thing: caulking countertops, installing faucets. Oh boy, oh boy!