I held a memory in my hand the other day that overswepted me with a feeling from long time past. I was in search of a hammer for my husband in my father's garage and found an old friend.
Being the oldest, and with my father gone quite a bit in military service, I seemed to be the one to come up with inventive ways to fix our kid-related things and for some reason a hammer came in handy quite often back then.
I found that same old hammer among a few newer ones in my dad's knocked-about toolbox.
It felt like laying eyes on an old friend I hadn't seen in many years. And of course I had to give it the equivalent of a hug. I held it with love and admired it's smooth wooden handle that had become more beautiful with age.
The first thing that came to mind was coconuts. Growing up in South Florida, coconuts were a common sight. My hammer friend, along with a screw driver, gave my sisters, brother and I the delicious privilege of having fresh coconut and coconut milk. (it's not really a milk but a coconut flavored watery liquid -- yum) I figured out a way to hammer into the tough husks so I could peel them back to reveal the seed and then poke the 'soft eye' so we could pour out the milk. There are three small ovals on top and only one is soft. It must be pierced to release the pure liquid inside.
I don't know why coming across this hammer invoked such feelings. I remembered loving the thing back then just as much as I do today. I loved how solid and strong it felt, how I could depend on it to accomplish what only a hammer could, and it was the one thing that never got lost somehow during our 15+ moves ... it was always there – within reach, and taken for granted.
I think my mom loved it too. She always had a reason to use it for creating something. Props for her puppet ministry, shabby chic stuff around the house -- you name it. Plus, she had to fix all the grown-up things. So maybe it was she who made sure it never got left behind.
I held my hammer friend up to my dad who was sitting across the garage enjoying the fan breeze and said, "Dad, I don't care what Karen and Cathy say, this is MY hammer."
Knowing how much we all love each other he knows if we put our foot down about something it might be best if he just goes along with it and let us hash it out amongst ourselves. So he just laughed and said, "Okay." (smart dad)
Besides, my sisters and I are sooo okay when something we want means a lot to us. It doesn't matter how much we might personally want that same thing; if we see the other sister needs it more then it's a grudging pleasure to let them have it.
I'll be taking my dad to the doctor in a few days ... I think I'll bring my hammer friend home ... you know, before my dad spills the beans.
Pat, I felt right there with you, smoothing the old hammer and reliving dear memories. I had to chuckle, remembering the day this coconut "expert" was confounded by a nut that my trusty hammer simply could not crack. I ended up with three stitches in my lower lip. (Don't ever bounce a stubborn coconut on cement). And the story only gets better. . . Wonderful, hearwarming piece!