April 6, 2014

Shiny & Not So New: Day 6.


My Gramps eating cake on his 100th birthday.

My Grandfather, Mike, lived to 103.

His eight grandkids nicknamed him Ugly.

He could grow anything, repair everything, and had no patience for anyone who didn’t embrace learning.

He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and expected you to do the same. Instead of going to auto repair shop for my oil change, I was instructed step by step on how to do it myself. My spry Grandfather would pry open his aluminum folding lawn chair, plop it down next to the car, and issue orders. “No no, don’t be a baby about it. Lay on your back and get under the car so you can see what you are doing.” He said and rolled me a flashlight.

He hid from my Grandmother’s litany of chores down in his basement. He spent countless hours at his massive workbench. It was expertly organized. Baby food jars nailed into the bottom of a shelf displayed nails, bolts, and washers. Shoe boxes labeled and stacked served as his filing system.

He invented recycle/reuse long before it was fashionable.

When I visited, we kept out of site like conspirators and breathed in the scent of cedar, paint thinner, and oil.

My Grandfather knew the garbage day of all the “rich neighborhoods” and drove his grandkids around with him to inspect other peoples junk. He  muttered in disgust at the things people tossed away.

“Do you know what is under all this paint?” he said examining the underside of a drawer.

“A treasure.”

All of his grandchildren have these pieces in our homes. The lamp that lights my desk, while I write, contains my Grandfather’s energy.

So today, Day Six, I am polishing up all my shoes and handbags. My husband inspired me because he did it first and everything looked so clean and new on his shelves. He and my Grandfather were compatriots.

I turned on a movie and sat with Gramp’s shoe shine kit. He built it himself.  I started with a twelve year old pair of Uggs that I was going to toss. Now, they are a treasure! Ugly would be pleased.


(The shoebox that my grandfather made and my ancient Uggs, plucked from the trash pile and given a new life.)

The 24 Things helps us pay reverence to the past. The simplest task, like shining old winter boots, prompts a flood of memories. Each whiff of Mink Oil and swipe of the brush can uncover a hidden treasure.

Will you let go and discover things about yourself? If you blog, be sure to let me know so that I can share your experience and add you to our list of 24-ers.

Get Tossing and Get Clear, my friends!

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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: courtesy of the author (used with permission from Bello Photography)

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