Friday, October 8, 2010

Dad's nails

The other day I was helping my mom paint the fence. It's a pretty big yard so there was a lot of fence to paint. When my parent first moved in back in 1986, my dad built an inner fence, complete with a small shed and a work table attached to the fence.

When we were done painting, my mom said, "why don't you take that table apart? the wood is rotting anyway." She went inside and I got a hammer and started prying off the boards. As I was taking the 2x6's off one by one, I realized that it was my dad who had built this, over 20 years ago. He loved to build things, and he was good at it. The nails were cross-hatched, to give the table more strength. When the boards were off, I started pulling out the nails, and remembered my dad and I doing the same thing when I was 8 years old. Back then, I struggled to pull out a nail, and he said, "put a piece of wood under the hammer, it'll come out easier...look.." and he showed me how to do it. I thought of that when I did that same thing, and I felt like my dad was right next to me. Then I looked at those nails and thought of them shiny and new, when he first built that table, and now here they were, old and rusted, but he was the last one to touch them. And in touching them again, I felt his those heart transplant recipients who eerily take on the memories and mannerisms of their donors, there was a certain energy or spoor that came from just touching them. I get that same feeling whenever I go near his green toolbox. Everything I learned about using tools, working on cars, etc. came from my dad...I still remember him showing me how to do things, and he would constantly go, "look...look...look.." as he was showing me...
This was his house, and I still feel his presence.


  1. Beautiful post dan. I so know that feeling of touching his nails. Ya remember when you were a kid and you wrote CP on your hand that meant Cootie Protection? I didn't mind Cooties from my friends. I felt touching them... or something they had touched, like perhaps sitting on a warm seat they just stood up from, was special for me because it connected me to them. Maybe that wasn't so silly afterall....

  2. Thanks so much Shawn! yeahhh I totally think there's an energy left over from the things we touch. Like wearing someone else's clothes you can really feel it!