Jerry's View: The gift of giving comes back
by Jerry Robinson
I'm not much of a craftsman. I admit it. I do like to tinker in the garage and I've owned nearly every type of woodworking tool to make everyone think I know what I'm doing. Crosscut saws, rip saws, band saws, table saws, hack saws. I never saw a saw I did not think I needed.
It wasn't always like that. My six thumbs were no challenge to my brother Russ. We once made sailboats to race at Peninsula Park wading pool, in Portland. Russ was gifted. His sleek sloop cut a fine figure. Its billowed sail moving briskly across the water. As captain of my boat, I should have scuttled it before launch. No one told me cardboard and balsa wood are not good in water.
With help from Mr. Turner I was able to make an end table for my mom in manual training at Jefferson High. I also participated in the construction of a clubhouse on Simpson St., right across from our house in a vacant lot. We cut holes in the front so we could sling shot rocks at the enemy. Since there were no enemies, I practiced hitting shrubs near our front porch. That backfired when a stray shot hit our front window. My slingshot was mysteriously missing soon after.
As an adult I cut a fine figure in my workshop, breaking most of the safety rules except one. I always wore goggles. I made a lot of little things over the years.
A grandpa's job is to make things for grandkids. I was a whiz. Besides, it kept me out of the kitchen where I also thought I was a whiz at making spaghetti. "She" had objections.
Last week I was feeling sorry for myself and mentioned to my son that I thought the grandkids did not appreciate the scooters I had made for them years ago."They probably broke and tossed them," I thought. My son presented me with a picture of them on Christmas morning. I took a long look back at my gift, remembering the joy it brought me as they scooted around the garage that first day.
I remember buying the wheels, the oak steering columns, the foot pads and the assembly with sturdy bolts. I painted them all red and white. I even made a scooter stand for parking them.
There were other projects, bird houses, cute race cars, swings and benches but those scooters were special. Last week my son brought in a lone scooter. It wasn't a replica. It was one that I built 27 years ago. One I thought had been lost to time. All the memories of my craft came flooding back. Now the gift of giving was coming back to me. I was overjoyed at this small red and white scooter in great condition.
I may not be much of a craftsman but I am a softie for the little things.
Jerry Robinson (1920~2014) was the publisher of the paper from 1952 until 2014.