Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Couple of Words to Change the World

The holstered tazer hung no more than two feet in front of Sam's eyes. A revolver was strapped on the opposite hip; the radio with its selector set on channel three separated the two weapons on the wide black belt of the thirty-something RCMP officer waiting stoically ahead of us in line at the 7-11. I was vaguely aware that the line wasn't moving, my attention and thoughts drawn more to the coolness of the air conditioned store as we held our sweating slurpee's in hand. Evangeline began to suck her icy grape/orange concoction into her mouth. There was a lady with a small girl at the cashier that was causing some sort of complication and I could sense impatience setting into the stagnated line. My gaze dropped back to the well armed officer in front of me.

The sleeve of his shirt was stretched taut where his bulging arm emerged. It was a large arm. Large and colorful. A tatooed fish curved around his forearm and lept up over his elbow. Many designs covered what little bare skin was available; two words in plain black ink caught my eye on the inside of his forearm. My attention shifted back to the lady that was now over by the ATM machine in the corner of the store and I noticed her staring incredulously at her receipt.

“I like the two words on your arm,” I commented to the officer.

The line was moving now.

The officer placed his three small bags of candy beside the conspicous pile of goods left on the counter. I barely made out his words as his arm made a vague sweeping motion over all the items. 

“I'll get this too.”

“That's $34.20,” the cashier informed him as he inserted his chip card into the keypad and punched in his passcode.

We placed our selection of slurpee's on the counter just as the lady with the small girl reappeared.  The cashier, scooping the pile in her hands, pushed it towards her.

 “Your items have been paid for.”

“What?” the lady enquired.

“Your items. They're all paid for.”

"That's right!” I said. “The man ahead of me just paid for them!”

“How? How can they be paid for?” she stammered.

“Officer White just paid for your things.” the cashier stated flatly. “They're paid for.”

“That's amazing!” the overwhelmed lady commented as she gathered her things. “I'll have to thank him for this. The bank machine was broken. This is just amazing.”

I left the 7-11 feeling euphoric with hope surging in my soul. Sometimes you witness something so profound you can't help but love the people around you.

“What did you say to that RCMP officer in the store?” Sam inquired.

“He had tattooed 'Grace and Mercy' on his arm. I told him I liked that,” I replied.

Grace and Mercy.

Pretty good words to live by.

Thank you Officer White.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rebuilding a Camping Trailer

Our little Scamp trailer has been wonderful.  We've dragged it up and down the Alaska Highway six times, and it has handled all the bouncing and bumping without complaint, even though it was often overloaded.

But it shows.  The cabinetry, never a well made item in these trailers, was falling apart.  Time to pull out my tools.

The cabinet was disassembled, and a new front glued up.

My fiberglass experience came handy as I  laminated the 1 inch framework to the new 1/4 inch plywood.

With all the appropriate openings cut out, the reassembly went without a hitch.

My eye for wasted space discovered room for a second drawer, something sorely lacking in the old design.

Some shellac and varethane finished it off, and it's now solid and ready for another run of highway.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A shop in the country

One thing I'm very excited about is the shop on our yard.   It's a fairly decent size; 24 X 30, with two large doors.   I'd like to develop one side into my wood shop,  keeping the other bay available for automotive work.

And it can even have a touch of beauty when you have a daughter that loves to hang out with you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The effects of time

Time has a way of altering our landscapes before our eyes and before we realize it we can find ourselves in a completely new environment from where we were.

A year ago my father passed away.

A year ago we were living in Anchorage.

A year ago we faced an uncertain future.

Today I completed the import and registration process for the van.

Time alters our lives; sometimes for good, sometimes bad.

Sometimes it's good to take some time to remember.

Because that can help us view the future.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A night at the barn

I am a working man
But I ain't worked for a while
like some old tin can
from the bottom of the pile
-Big Sugar

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The country alternative

We've found a few acres with some buildings not far from town that we've fallen in love with.  It's in a sense a homecoming for me; I grew up on a farm and remember playing around in the barn and other outbuildings. The adventure to be found in the country with a little imagination is a great thing for a kid to experience.

Unfortunately as we grow older the play must soon forfeit to responsibilty, and this past weekend was no exception.  The garage was in sore need of shingles.  A gracious neighbour offered planks and the use of his truck, and in one sunny Sunday afternoon Theresa and I had the old shingles removed.

The kids though found another use for the planks.

What a wonderful alternative to offer your children.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A choice of power

Frederick Buechner writes in "The Magnificent Defeat"

"I suppose we might begin by saying that man's absolute power, the one that he can be surest of because it involves nothing except power, is his power to destroy.  One does not need talent or brains to destroy.  Anybody can do it: can destroy an animal, a bird, an object, an enemy or friend, himself, Jesus Christ.  There is no need to add that as matters stand now man has the power even to destroy mankind.  However, that is only half the picture because in addition to his power to destroy, man also has the power to create.  We can make things: paintings and political systems, theological systems, supersonic aircraft, iron lungs." (p. 32 HarperCollins, 1966)

Those words came to mind as I was discussing with my sister, Edith, about inspirational carvings I could use on my sawbench that I was completing.

I ended up choosing two simple phrases, "to destroy" and "to create."

She suggested using traditional Hebrew, "shabar" and "bara'."

I loved it.

It's something I'd like to remember every time I sit down at this bench.

For my hands are capable of either.