It's become a new tradition. When I/we visit my parents in England my Dad sends me off to his shed to pilfer anything I might find useful. You may remember last year I described an earlier session. Dad's not able-bodied enough to carpent like he used to. In fact, it's quite clear that his sawing days are over. But we're not a morbid family and practicalism always comes to bear.
Not that I've been able to take just anything. After this last trip it occurred to me that you could chart how precious his tools have been to him using some arrangement of concentric circles. His most prized tools sitting closer to the centre. And with each trip he has granted me greater access to the inner circles.
This time I selected just a few items; items that held memories from the distant past. My Dad's mallet was one of them. I'm pretty sure he made it himself when he was quite a young man. It would be a typical piece for him to have made: robust; durbable; impervious to attack from heavy artillery.
I found it in a cupboard and when I saw it it felt just about as familiar an object as any I have around me every day. Even though I haven't seen it for years, it felt like meeting a friend I'd lost touch with but who "hadn't changed a bit". Well, perhaps a few more lines; a bit of wear and tear.
Dad's never really been a big talker, not on a personal level. He has always been good at talking at the telly, during the news; he says outrageous things. My point is, we've never been "close" but somehow, when I look at Dad's mallet I see him, the real him.