org tools

My grandparents lived in the same beautiful house my whole life.
It was nestled on Trestle Glen Road, built on the undulating ground of Oakland.
While their front door was on the street level, the property sloped so that their bedrooms in the back of the house were on the second level. Then, in their tiny backyard, the ground suddenly rose again, higher this time than the roof.  The hill was covered with vegetation and sometimes (Grampa told us) deer and racoon would come down to feed.  He especially had problems when he planted a vegetable garden; his beans were a particular hit with the local wildlife.

My favourite part of the house was the basement.  (I have never lived in a house with a basement.)  It was situated under the bedrooms and was accessed by climbing down three small steps on the side of the house.  It was dark, cool and earthy-smelling.  The clothes washer and drier lived down there.  The raw beams supporting the floor of the house ran in parallel lines above one’s head.  Grampa had covered most of them with high-density foam, as he continually bumped his forehead walking from one side of the basement to the other.

Wooden cupboards were filled with home-canned preserves, jams and jellies.  The food freezer, which was like an enormous treasure chest and filled with all sorts of ice creams, also resided in the basement.

Grampa had a workbench down there, and he would spend hours each day (when he was retired) tinkering with odd bits of wood and metal.  I once helped him make a wooden puzzle.  He had hundreds of tools which he’d acquired throughout the years.  And he kept them all neatly displayed on a peg board.  Various sizes of jars were filled with nails and screws.  Grampa would take down a tool, use it and then put it right back where it lived.  He said to me, “If you put things away where they go when you are finished using them, you won’t waste time looking for them when you next need them.

This is a lesson I am still learning today.
(Now where did I put those keys?)

hoto credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhest09/8413472121/“>roberthest</a> via <a

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