There are splotches of stain traced up my arm, a visual reminder that not everyone makes their living in a boardroom or in front of a computer. Many etch out their pay with sweat and muscle. My arms ache this evening, a portent to the pain I will feel in the morning. I’m not used to this.
I went to work in my parents’ shop today. We spent the day staining and wiping down large panels. I don’t get the opportunity to work there often, but I enjoy it when I do- my long dormant skills get the chance to flex.
My father has been working as a wood finisher for over 50 years. The passage of time and experiences has made him into a master of his trade and watching him work can leave you in no doubt. What he lacked in formal education was more than supplied with a quick mind, attention to detail, and a unique ingenuity that considers problems and renders surprising and effective solutions. He’s an inventor, a genius in his own right, and a talented artist. For him it is the thrill of the chase- the problem that needs an answer, and one that can’t be found in a book or a website. It’s understanding how chemicals interact and colors weave into each other. His is an encyclopedic mind of how a type of wood will accept or reject a substance and how a unique ingredient will produce a desired effect. He likes the hard jobs, because he can do them, and he can do them well.
For so many reasons, I enjoy the moments I get to share with him in his domain. They are special to me, so I don’t mind the stain or the sore muscles, not one bit.