Daddy, the fix it man


Even though my daddy is now well into his 80’s with some vision and hearing issues, he still is a pretty good handyman. Visiting here not that long ago, he cut down a dead tree in my front yard, disentangled the banner from in front of my house and put up a new one, planted petunias in my tire planters and a hanging flowerpot on my porch … and installed my “new” washing machine.

He would have done even more if he’d been here longer than a weekend.

That was on top of preaching in his former parish church, visiting with former colleague and friend Rev. Gary Gardner over lunch, getting the car worked on, taking a trip to North Clear Creek Falls and catching a few fish at Big Meadows.

(My father’s not one to sit still for long.)

The washing machine installation was a chore and a challenge, but my father was able to figure it out. My washing machine had quit working last fall, and I had been going to the neighborhood laundry to wash clothes, then bringing them home to dry. I finally purchased a used machine for $50 from a friend but had not gotten it any farther than the garage. My father and I wrestled the old one out and the new one in, but the drain hose from the “new” machine didn’t fit into the drain hole. If I had had to deal with this on my own, I probably would have screamed and cried for a while and then started cutting something up until it fit.

Daddy, an innovative fix-it guy, took the hose from the non-working machine and made it work with the “new” one. That was after we searched the only place open on a Sunday night to find a clamp thingy. The only package containing the right size also had tools we didn’t need, but at that point I was willing to buy anything short of a new washer to get this thing to work. So Smiley was the recipient of the rest of the tools, and daddy made the clamp work with the hose … and que milagro! I had a working washing machine again.

I couldn’t count the times daddy has fixed something at my house and the folks’ place. He could usually figure out a solution somehow. Perhaps the inventive skills were bred into him, as he was raised in a household that had to make do and raised in a time when people recycled and refurbished out of necessity, before it was trendy and politically correct to do so.

Over the years daddy has fixed everything from broken ceramics to broken furniture.

The only thing he cannot fix, at least not entirely, is a broken heart, although he has helped mend a few as a pastor, counselor and father.

I remember when my sweet mixed-breed Katy was dying, many years ago now, and mamma and daddy and my little sister came down to be with me as the vet put her to sleep. I sat in the yard with my sweet friend, waiting for the vet who graciously made a house call that late-May afternoon. As I loved on Katy and let her lick on a chocolate shake (it didn’t make a difference at that point if she had chocolate), daddy couldn’t sit still and he couldn’t fix Katy, who was also one of his favorite fur faces, so he and mamma worked on a portion of my fence that was causing problems.

He was fixing what he could, as he always has and always will.

And what my daddy cannot fix, my Father can.   

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