Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bent and unusable ...

Marlene Terry
Autumn brings more than a change of color for me. It's also brings memories of favorite activities and traditions.

For most of my growing up years, we lived in a tiny house behind the home of our landlords, Grandpa and Grandma Cheney.
What we called them says volumes about their ages and how really kind and caring they were to us.
... Suffice it to say that It was years before I knew that we weren't really related. 
There was never a holiday that we weren't included in their celebration, even Christmas when no matter what, we could count on wonderful baked treats and gifts for each of us.

I also looked forward to the family-like fall cleanup, that of course included raking leaves that fell from several ancient poplar trees that lined the driveway. It also included tidying up Grandpa Cheney's garage. 

... I most especially remember the workbench where he kept his tools ... and NAILS.

The Cheneys were from the old school, those who'd survived the Great Depression and extremely hard times. And because of that, they'd learned to be frugal ... nearly to a fault.

All summer long during repairs around his place, Grandpa Cheney would have one of us kids follow along, empty coffee can in hand, so we could pick up the nails that might drop onto the ground during the repair.
Besides the nails that would fall from the pouch he wore around his waist, were those that he pulled out for one reason or another, that needed to be replaced. 

There were also those he bent, pounding them in at a bad angle. ... He would always cuss under his breath whenever that happened. ... Those were placed in the coffee can too.

... The first year that I helped him I was understandably curious, and would ask from time to time why he saved those old, bent ruined nails.
"Just wait 'til fall," he'd say with a wink and a smile.

... Over the months the coffee can filled up and when fall came, I found out the answer to my question.

... And I never will forget standing at Grandpa Cheney's workbench, hammer in hand, happily engaged for hours. 
... It was under his sweet, patient tutelage, that I learned how to straighten out a bent, seemingly unusable nail, and make it ... well, most of them at least, not quite like new, ... but still good enough to be used again. 

... That is if you turned the nail and tapped at it just the right way.
... Wonderful season, fall!

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