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Gifts from my Grandfather



Pictured above is the toolbox that Grampa gave to me when I was around 17. He noticed how I was always building chicken coops and other contraptions for my livestock, so he put together this collection of tools from his own workshop.


At first, I didn’t always use this tool box because my parents were more than happy to share their tools with me from the home farm. However, when I moved down the road and needed some tools of my own, the bulk of my arsenal was made up of things my grandfather gave me.


My Grampa was very generous. As he grew older, I always admired his ability to accept that he could no longer do certain things. It must’ve been tough for him, and I’m sure he put on more of a good front than how he actually felt, but still. He showed me how to gracefully accept the fact of aging. He never complained to me about being unable to do things - but he made lots of jokes about it. And instead, he taught me how to use his tools and passed them on to me.


When I mentioned needing a socket set, Grampa appeared with one at our next visit. When I mentioned needing a shorter garden hose for the cattle, he brought me one from his shed.

A box of jack knives; a miter saw; a box of wood planers; a pipe cutter - he gave me so many things.

 

And do you think sometimes maybe he just wanted this stuff off his property? Probably! He never expected me to keep every little thing he gave me.


The important thing is, every time I use something from Grampa, I think of him. When I walk over to the shed to get a hammer, it’s not just any old hammer - it’s The Hammer that Grampa Gave Me. I am reminded of his generosity and how glad I am to have this tool he gave me. If I make a mistake with it, I think of him laughing at me saying “who made this mess?”


Grampa died in August, 2022. Now, when I visit my Gramma, she always has some little job for me - fix this window, carry this to the basement. She always jokes that I’m never off the hook, but of course I tell her that I prefer it that way.

We all like to feel useful.


I’m sure it made my Grampa feel useful to give me the tools that he no longer used. Just last week, I visited Gramma and stood down in Grampa’s workshop for a few minutes. I always love being down there and admiring how tidy he had it. Everything had a perfect, clever home. I came back upstairs with a pair of bolt cutters and asked Gramma if I could have them. When I use them for fencing this summer, I will think of Grampa every time.

 

I once heard a talk show on the radio discussing the worst gifts that could be given for Mother’s Day, and “power tools” were listed. Why? What better gift than a tool that someone will use, rather than a gimmick that collects dust or goes to the thrift store.

You might have to show them how to use it, but that’s just part of the fun.

~

I love having Grampa’s tools. None of them are particularly old, none of them are particularly valuable, but they will always have meaning to me.



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