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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last Day of Summer

In case you missed it, today was the last full day of Summer. My siblings and I were talking about this as we said good-bye in the driveway last night. The work-day in Mom's house went very well. We got a lot done, and set a date for another day to pick up where we left off. It was a wonderful day. My brother-in-law, Jack, is an excellent cook, and he made a pot roast with onions and carrots. Mmmmmm...... My sister-in-law Jayne brought home-made bread and pies for dessert. It was delicious and we ate there at Mom's dining room table. It was great. Then we got back to work and continued well into the night. Thanks for organizing it, Kathy!

Because I live 3.5 hours away and everyone else lives within a half hour, and since I had no passengars along with me, we loaded up some larger odds-and-end things in my van. I brought home the old toy box that Dad made 55 years ago. We divvied up the tools that he used to keep on the tool board in the picture. I plan to hang it in the garage and between my own tools and some I brought home, I should be able to cover most of the red outlines. This will be the perfect "organizational tool" for me. I tend to be very visual, and this will help me keep tools where I can find them. Then in the left of the picture is the long-lost Duncan Phyfe. The wooden banana-peel pedestal is long gone. It's "ruined" by all standards of furniture and "antiques," but the story about it, and the thread it provided for Mom and I as I wrote those many chapters last fall is what gives the old table with the 2-by-8 legs its value to me. Hefting it in and out of the van brought back vivid memories of Dad's horrifying experience that night in 1951.

After Julie and Natalie and I unloaded these items and some boxes from the van in the heat of the late afternoon, it felt so warm I got the urge to go for a swim in Lake Michigan. It's been about a month since we've been to the beach, and what with fall coming tomorrow, I begged everyone to join me for just a quick dip. No takers, but hey, it's only four miles away, so I jumped in my trunks, grabbed a towel and before you know it I was swimming in the refreshingly cool waters. There were no waves at all and only about three other people in the water where hundreds were just a couple weeks ago.

That swim reminded me of the way Dad and us boys often finished a day of work in the summer. We'd be working hard and he'd say, "Tell you what, boys, let's say we sweat it out two more hours and then go up to the river." [It was the St. Clair river, there beneath the Blue Water Bridge where 20 years before he'd swim across to Canada on his lunch break and Mom picked up down stream.] We, of course, loved the idea and worked all the harder in anticipation of the cold blue water.

This picture was taken circa summer of 1979 on just such a day, but by then Mom, Dad, Jim, and I were living in the house (with portions still unfinished and the garage and breezeway yet started). Kathy, Paul, and Dave were married. I'm on the left, then Paul, Dave, Dad, and Jim. Dad was around 50, and could still out-swim all of us.

I know I said the next chapter would be here tonight or tomorrow night, but I had a choice between writing and swimming on the last day of summer... I went swimming. (I did not look like the kid in the picture, but I felt like him.) Believe it or not, my choice ties in perfectly with what Dad taught us in the next chapter: "The Virtue of Reality."

7 Comments:

Anonymous quilly said...

I liked this little segue. Take your time. Take care of you. Your stories are well worth waiting for.

22/9/08 12:59 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

It is a good thing that stature does not determine who is a giant among men.

22/9/08 5:21 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

We went through this with two houses. My mothers and her mothers. But we didn't get to go swiming.

22/9/08 5:50 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Quilly,
Hopefully, I'll get to that chapter soon enough for this segue to still work. =)

TWM,
I'm guessing 5'10" at his peak. Dave was always the tallest. He might have hit 6', but you're right, I know few men who can measure up to Dad.

Dr. John,
I'm so glad I went and jumped in the lake. It was calm and refreshing and the perfect end to this unique weekend.

22/9/08 7:12 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

A perfect ending of an eventful, productive weekend... one last refreshing swim. Swimming is a favorite in our family too.

Thanks for the photo... a visual helps this reader too! How did your dad paint those red outlines so neatly?

Your post sounded optimistic and upbeat. I'm sure it was bittersweet as it should be but I think you even had a smile on your face as you typed this post! Good for you!

I put a line about you in my most recent post. You are going to love it! Blessings my friend. Have a great week!

22/9/08 7:46 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Nancy,
I was smiling. You're right. Only the 3.5 hour drive home was a bit contemplative, but when we were all together, it was great.

Good question about how Dad painted the outlines. I've been wondering that myself because I need to paint some new outlines in the gaps where I don't have a particular tool, etc. I think I'll try tracing the tool or projecting a shadow of the tool on the board, but he was very accurate when he made that over 50 years ago.
Enjoy your new Mac and spellchecking in the comments!

22/9/08 8:20 PM  
Blogger Family Man said...

Great post. As always time heals, but it does so at it's own speed. I remember clearing out my mother things when she passed away too. I am glad you got your swim in.

23/9/08 1:50 PM  

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