The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE: RAISE OR RAZE… OR BOTH…
Raise – (one definition) to set upright by lifting or building
Raze – to destroy to the ground : DEMOLISH
I love tools.
I got that love from my father. In the house that I grew up in, my dad had a workshop. I loved going in there and look at his huge collection of tools that he had hanging on a pegboard. And I would open his toolbox and look at the tools that lay within. Most I knew by sight but there were a few I had no idea what they were for. A total mystery. I’d pick them up and hold them in my hands and felt their weight. Once I had their weight, look, and feel memorized in my mind, I would put them back with reverence. These were things that I held in high regards like holy relics or unexploded mines.
Every one of them had my respect because they had my father’s respect.
Over time, he showed me how to use most of these tools. And, if I do say so myself, I learned over time (and with a few bruises and cuts along the way) how to use these tools well.
Now, I have a lot of these tools that were once owned by my father. I even have the holy ark that was his toolbox. It’s old and parts of the metal are rusted but when I see it, I smile. I see an aura sending out a glow.
It’s the same glow that I saw coming from it when I was little.
Since I have had a job with money to spend, I started my own tool collection. It started off slow, a few crappy screwdrivers and hammers. Most gone before I had them too long. They broke or wore out way before they should. Cheap prices; cheap tools = crappy tools.
But as I made more money, better tools were purchased. Most of these I still have.
I collected more tools. Most purchased for a particular project or another. Something breaks and you can’t afford to pay to have it fixed? You buy the tool that would fix it and try your best to do it yourself. Sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes I didn’t. But I learned something regardless.
But my own toolbox started to fill.
So, great. You like tools, Loyd. Wonderful.
Why a blog post about them?
Tools have been around for a long time. I’m not sure if anybody can pinpoint the very first tool used but if I had to guess, it was a hammer.
A rock was picked up and smashed against another rock. Or a walnut. Or somebody’s head.
The rock had suddenly become a tool.
And, maybe, a murder weapon.
The tools you accrue over time have the power to fix or create.
Or damage or destroy.
Every tool in your toolbox has the power to make things better or worse. It’s all in how you use them.
We carry a toolbox where ever we go. Over time, we collect different tools from our parents, our siblings, or our friends. We collect tools on what we watch on TV or see in the movies. We pick up tools when we go out into the world and interact with strangers or potential friends. We pick these tools up and put them in the toolboxes that we carry between our ears.
And just like the tools in our father’s rusted toolbox, they have the power to fix or destroy.
To raise or raze.
I learned a lot about how to use my father’s tools. I remember once I was using his wood saw. It’s one of those that some people use a bow on and make that weird eerie sound.
Check it out here: https://youtu.be/7E_U1xyK7Gw
So, I was cutting a piece of wood. Or I should say, trying to cut a piece of wood. The blade was bowing one way and then another. I couldn’t get the saw to run straight.
Well, I got frustrated and pushed hard. And then it ran straight.
STRAIGHT OVER MY THUMBNAIL!!!
I let my emotions get the best of me and stopped paying attention. When I pushed the saw, it jumped out of the little grove I had made and went into my nail.
Long story short, there was blood, I cried, I lost part of the nail.
After my dad passed and I was able to collect some of his things, I grabbed that saw. Same saw, same blade. It’s rusty now (a bit like me) but when I held it in my hand, I remembered that moment from long ago in the backyard of the house I grew up in. I remember how bad my dad felt when I ran that saw across my thumbnail. It made me remember times when I saw my daughter get hurt and cry. And how it hurt me.
She picked up a tool when it happened. And she put it in her toolbox in her mind.
The tools we own, the tools we collect, we must learn to use them correctly. And often. If you don’t, they rust, they become brittle, they become useless.
As of this writing, my wife and I are about to move. We’re going from a condo to a house.
A house with a garage.
In that garage, I’m going to buy some pegboards and hang my tools from it. And then, I’m going to bring out my father’s tools and place them on hooks next to mine.
It will represent a collection of the age of training. And once the last tool finds a home on that board, I’m going to stand back and take it all in. Maybe I’ll feel my father standing next to me.
Something my father told me that I believe in with all my heart. It’s a rule that has been said over and over by anyone who makes things out of anything.
“Measure twice, cut once.”
It takes a tool to do that.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
December 4th, 2020
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.