There are some things a father accepts offspring will be good at.
In my case, these are usually tasks I perform poorly at. Dancing comes to mind. Selecting clothes. Understanding mobile phone functions.
Every now and then, the girls surprise me. One or the other will throw up a new success story, that I didn’t see coming.
It’s a wonderful part of being a parent. But still a shock.
The Teenager does some groovy subjects at high school. Media studies. Dance and drama, where they actually get marks. And something called ITD.
It sounds like the method one would use to call friends overseas. Instead, it stands for Industrial Technology and Design.
From what I can make out, this is something similar to our old woodwork class. In her precise teenage terminology, “we make stuff.”
She was able to show me this “stuff’, by using her smart phone. Lots of photos and video, of the various stages of her work.
The current project is a paper towel holder. Very handy for a household that goes through bundles of the stuff. Mainly for mopping up Coco’s frequent floor puddles.
She saws the wood. Shaves it. Drills holes in it. Hammers nails. All the while humming Taylor Swift songs.
From what I could make out, everything was where it should be. Not that I’m an expert. Far from it.
I don’t own a drill. Never have. Wouldn’t know how to turn one on. My hammer is rusted. There is a court order somewhere banning me from using any kind of saw.
Dad had the most amazing set of tools. All hanging neatly on hooks, carefully arranged on his garage wall. He could make anything.
He seemed to understand early on that I didn’t possess his love of craft. It never worried him. We shared so much else together. No great problem if I couldn’t hit a nail in ten goes.
Classmates at school excelled in woodwork and metalwork class. Most were naturals on the tools. Not me.
My measurements were always out. Bits never stuck. Teachers counted my fingers at the end of each lesson.
A few years later, a mate talked me into doing Industrial Arts with him. Wood, metal and technical drawing, all rolled into one. Actual alarms went off as I walked into the room.
He was a whiz at it, and promised to help me out. He would live to regret that decision.
My friend had to draw everything for me. Then bring the image to life. Every single assignment. All done with a smile. I believe he now does wonderful things in a senior role at BHP. After carrying me for two years, the world of international mining would be a walk in the park.
In the years since, I’ve assumed my rightful place. Tools are for others. The workshop is not for me. We keep a wary, respectful distance.
But it would seem Dad’s expertise has not been lost after all. It just skipped a generation. His love of building things is safely in the carefully manicured hands of his grand-daughter.
I can’t wait to use the new paper towel holder. And even better, if it breaks, I now know someone who can fix it.