Happy Father's Day to all you dads. I hope you are being spoiled absolutely senseless by adoring families who are tripping over themselves to fulfill your every whim.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about my dad, but if you know me, you'll know that I will use every opportunity to highjack the conversation into really being about myself, so forgive because I am going to do so again.
Like most families, we weren't exactly Norman Rockwell models. I didn't have the easiest relationship with my dad. We did talk more after I started university, because then it seemed we had some interests in common (and I was probably less of an asshole by then), but I never really got past thinking of him as a curt, slightly scary, basically unavailable man. It wasn't until he died that I found out that he was so much more multi-faceted than the career soldier I had always assumed him to be.
I learned that he had been enrolled in law school when WWII broke out, which obviously changed his life and his aspirations forever. I had always appreciated that he had a love of words; he used to read our encyclopedia collection from cover to cover and he could not resist ordering several books every month. But I overlooked his creative side.
My father abhored waste and would reuse everything many times over, in many different incarnations. For example, he would hang shiny metal plates and old mirrors and such all around his huge garden, to keep the birds away. Now when I look around my own garden, it too is filled with found objects, less to keep the birds away and more because I like the way incongruous objects look amongst the greenery, but it still reminds me of Willi's garden.
It wasn't until recently that I realised that I probably inherited any sort of creativity that I may possess from my dad. After my mom's funeral I took home with me a set of wooden lamps, a couple of candle holders, and a bowl, all of which my dad had carved from a single tree that had been felled one year. They remind me of him, of course, but in addition, they make me understand how similar I am to my dad in my love of words, my appreciation of clean simple design, and my desire to transform found objects into new life.
The point I am trying to make, in my long-winded approach, is that my dad's handiwork have become some of my most treasured possessions. A while ago, the ever-inventive and reflective Sean posted most eloquently about the small treasures in our collections, those items that define our experiences, that ground us at the same time as they pique our imagination, expand our minds, and make our hearts swell. These things, which my dad made with his hands, are my precious treasures. They will never end up in an art gallery or anything, but they are quite lovely in their simplicity. They remind me of the father I wish I had appreciated more, and they make me aware of the sensibilities and the creative approach which we shared. To me that is precious.