My father made things by hand. There was the brick barbecue on Faith Place in Louisiana. The wooden toybox. The kid’s desk and chair. The wooden duck carvings. The armoire for Uncle Bob.
I think about my Dad a lot these days. Since he died in May 2010.
He painted. Played guitar. Ran a company with two hundred employees. He sailed, opened a framing store in retirement, patented an oil rig device, built houses. He started an art market in Madisonville, La for local artists to show their work along the Tchefuncte River one Saturday each month.
When I was eight, we slept overnight on our 25 foot sailboat on Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans. I can still smell the fiberglass in the cabin of that boat. I felt sneaky because it was a school night and I arrived late the next morning (during Library Time).
I remember a minor mishap on the lake, sailing with my Dad and little sister. We had struck bottom in shallow water shortly after leaving the marina. When Dad yelled “I’m aground” to a nearby boater my sister heard “I’m gonna drown.” No one drowned. We still laugh at that.
Dad was always dreaming about boats. He once built a wooden sailboat in our garage. We used to joke that the boat had seen many more miles on the highway than it would ever see on the water. Dad was a serial homeowner, so he trailered the boat from house to house during its seven year construction.
My daughter is turning seven in a few days. I wanted to give her something more than a store-bought gift. So I built her the wooden toy sailboat you see here.