THE CARPENTER’S APRON
It was a blustery January day when George, our next-door neighbor, stopped by our house. Scott, our youngest son was busily pounding nails into a table he was trying to build. Of our three sons Scott was the one who was always into mischief. I wondered what he’d been into this time. I needn’t have worried.
George tossed down a piece of canvas with what appeared to be pockets sewn on it.. “This,” he said, pointing at the item he had brought, “Is to help you keep track of your tools.”
He went on, “I see you over here pounding on things all the time. I see you working away on that little table, and it makes me right proud the way you keep after it until you got those legs right.”
I stifled a grin because Scott had been working for hours trying to get the legs right so the table wouldn’t teeter. No matter how hard he tried one leg was always too short. First he’d saw off one table leg, and then he’d saw off another, trying to get them the same height. He finally hit upon the idea of building up the short leg by glueing little pieces of wood on it!
The table may not have been the most handsome ever contrived,. but the problem of uneven table legs had been solved. George picked up his gift for Scott and said, “Here, let me tie this around your waist. Then you can put the tools you want to use in the pockets. I use mine all the time. It’s real handy. I usually keep a pliers, a hammer, a saw, and anything else I’m going to use that day. You’ll know right where they are when you need them-- as long as you put them back when you are through.”
George might still be advising Scott about his carpentry, but for one miscalculation. His mistake was to call his canvas gift a “carpenter’s apron.”
This was a grave error. At age ten boys shun anything that sounds feminine! And then there was the other long-festering reason that Scott hadn’t appreciated the gift as much as he ought. Let me explain.
Of our four children. three are blue-eyed, golden-haired blondes, like their father. When Scott was born he had dark eyes, skin, and hair–like mine once was! I beamed all over when folks observed “You finally got one that looks like you, Louise!”
. I think I told everyone. I loved my blonde, blue eyed children dearly. But there is something soul-satisfying about having one who resembles you, especially when none of the others did! With Scott there was absolute certainty that the hospital hadn’t sent the wrong kid home!
Now Scott is grown, and has children of his own. One of them is his “spittin’ image.” He said, “I love it when folks say, ‘You musta cloned that one.”
“But when everyone said I looked like you I didn’t like it one bit, because I thought they meant I looked like a girl.”
At last I understood why Scott didn’t pursue carpentry as his trade, though he was a natural, and enjoyed building things.
Oh, he built a dog house for a girl friend (now his wife) when he was in his 20's. But for all his ingenuity and skill at building things he hadn’t gone into it as a profession.
Today Scott is a chemist. He may wear white jackets at work. but at least he will never be caught wearing an apron!