Friday, May 08, 2009

A Handy Reprise

Author's note: This may sound familiar to some...with good reason.
Previously posted in 2003

I just got back from the church where a friend and I did some mowing and then "assisted" in the moving of a large metal storage shed onto the property. Describing my role as "assisting" is really a stretch. Several young men and the husky dad of two of them came with a trailer, tools, tie downs, and trucks. We caravaned over to the home of the couple donating the shed and then I pretty much got out of the way. Oh, I helped lift and move it a few feet, but really the work was done by the other guys. The guy guys. These are guys who can tune up a car engine, change their own oil, fix stuff. They have pickups, and toolboxes the size of my car. They grunt. They spit. They grumble and look scornfully if you use a piece of equipment improperly and they reminisce about how they shared near death experiences involving power tools. When they hear the term "field dress", the image that pops into their minds has nothing to do with a garment worn by a character on "Little House on the Prairie."

They are entrenched in good standing in the "all things male" club.

I would never get past the membership committee.

"Are you now or have you ever been handy?"


When I remarked that the shed looked pretty secure on the trailer long before it had been tied down with multiple crisscrossed two inch by 27 foot ratchet straps tested to 10,000 pound breaking strength, one of the guys looked at me warily and said, "I was hauling freight over the Rockies when I was 18, I learned a few things!"

With visions of Conestoga wagons and the Donner party swirling by, I waved the white flag.

"Are you now or have you ever been handy?"


I don't know when I strayed off the testosterone trail. Actually, I'm not really sure I was ever on it.

I truly wish I was adept at some of these things, but I've accepted the fact that I'm not...and I'm not ever going to be.

Our friends moved last week and Amy was helping them. During that process, I stopped by to drop something off and saw that Amy was taking the doors off their refrigerator so that it would fit through the doorway.

"Are you now or have you ever been handy?"

"No... but is there any chance I could join the club on my wife's membership?"

I wrote this piece almost six years ago. I'm repeating it now because yesterday an old friend stopped by tell me that the big burly guy I mentioned in this piece as having "hauled freight over the Rockies" had died. He was a big bear of a man...with a big heart. Tomorrow Amy will sing as we serenade him to Heaven, where I'll bet he's already doing God's heavy lifting.