Thursday, June 11, 2015

A letter to my father.

Hi Dad, how does the lawn look? I just mowed it. Were you watching?
do you remember when we went fishing together for the first time on the pier at Shanklin on the I.O.W.? When we caught a fish you wouldn't let it flop about on the pier like some others were doing. You held the fish firmly by the tail and banged it's head on a steel post to kill it.
Do you miss me as much as I miss you?
Can you fix stuff there? It really would be heaven if there were lots of things to fix.
I just got laid off from my job so I should have time to write that book about you. I think I will call it, "Big Feet. Tough shoes to fill. My Father was a remarkable man."
Thanks for teaching me to swim, and to ride a bike, and to fix things, and to care.
I really miss our long phone conversations when we talked about fixing things. Things in your house, and my house, and other houses, and the world.
It rained really, really hard a few days ago and the lawn was almost floating, there was so much water on the ground. It reminded me of when we laid the lawn at 21 Chestnut Avenue. It must have been about 1954, was that when we moved in? You had ordered the Turf - we call it Sod over here - and it had rained almost every day. You worked of course so we pretty much had to do it on weekends. Well after about two weeks you were afraid that the grass would all die. It was in pieces that were about a foot wide and three feet long. Each piece was rolled up. So there were probably several hundred pieces. The weekend arrived and it was raining, hard. we decided to do the job anyway and went out in our raincoats. you laid down some planks of wood to roll the wheelbarrow on, so that it would not get bogged down. We floated the pieces into place! You brought them over in the wheelbarrow and I floated them into place. I think. you probably helped me with that part too. I must have been about 11 or 12 years old.
Anyway it had a good start. It could not have been better watered in! And it grew well although over the years the area in front of the house gradually turned into mostly moss. I think it was a mixture of being quite shady and being England, it rained fairly frequently. Plus there was a lot of clay in the area, which probably held the water.
Talking of clay do you remember that Mum's brother Clive took some of the clay and used it to make a pot?
I had a similar parent/child project with daughter Sarah. It was at our old house on Dock Road in Pasadena. She must have been about 10 years od. It was in the early 1980's. I had decided to put in a brick patio at the back of the house. I think it was about 20 feet by 30 feet. We ordered the bricks and sand and mortar, We raked the area flat, covered an area with sand mixed with dry mortar and laid the bricks. doing a section at a time. Sarah seemed to enjoy it. When it was finished, it took just one weekend, we swept playsand into all the cracks between the bricks. We did a good job apparently because it is still flat and in good shape some 35 years later! I think Sarah enjoyed it and hopefully she will remember the project with pride and pleasure.