50. The Wisdom of Demolition
Gerry’s grandfather and Uncle Harold came to the next family day. While Gerry’s grandfather talked to The Other Ken, I had coffee with Harold. I said his father seemed to be a wise man.
Harold said, “You know how they bulldoze old houses and haul the debris away to landfills? When my grandmother died, we took the house apart. We sold the copper pipes and wire. My dad, who was ex-military made a deal with the hippies living up the hill. This was right after Vietnam, and I think they were shocked he reached out to them. We pulled out the lathe and horsehair plaster. They ran it through a wood chipper and added it to their flower beds. The mulch made their plants really bloom. We pulled the nails out of the studs and joists, and saved the ones that weren’t bent. A guy bought the recycled lumber.
“I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. My dad paid us more than we made selling the copper and wood. It was dirty, nasty work.”
“Why did he do that?” I asked.
“He was teaching us a bunch of lessons. You can learn from your past, even as you move on. Those old timbers were dirty and full of nails, but they were still strong. He said they showed how life might age us without weakening the things that hold us up, like character. Giving the plaster to the neighbors? Look for common ground with people you don’t always agree with. Pulling the nails was the biggest pain in the butt. Saving the good ones was supposed to remind us to value the things that hold us together. He’s wise because he sees the wisdom in everyday life.”
Today I will look for wisdom in everyday life.
Needles Not For Knitting is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.
Needles Not For Knitting (c) 2017 by Ken Montrose
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