woensdag 22 oktober 2014

The Handyman

For some years we lived next door to our grand parents. This had some advantages. A babysit was always near and where possible parents and grandparents helped each other. One thing was excluded from this: my grandfather was not welcome to help my parents out as a handyman.

He himself was convinced of his capabilities, the rest of the family had their doubts. He was an expert in taking things apart, but assembling was a complete different matter. Most of the times this would be innocent, but everybody in the family remembered the moment when Grandma tried the repaired vacuum cleaner. She almost got electrocuted. So everything that worked on electricity was forbidden territory for him to go near with a screw driver.

I must have been 6 years old when Grandpa was asked to keep an eye on me while he was starting up a new hobby. He was going to breed pigeons and so a sort of wooden building had to be erected behind the house of my grandparents. While he was hammering the nails in the planks and the thing really got shape, I stood there in great admiration. The weather was nice and he worked fast and yet precisely.

“What do you think?”, he said, looking through a sort of window that the pigeons were going to use as their door. I answered that it really looked nice, the pigeons would feel very at home in this building. He explained to me what the use of the different levels was going to be and that he had this ingenious system for their shit and how he was going to keep this clean. I was truly amazed!

One thing puzzled me and I fell silent. Grandfather noticed this and asked me if anything was wrong with me. If I needed to go the toilet, I should do so.
I shook my head, hardly dared to ask this question. Maybe I was just very stupid.
Yet, I did ask him: “How can you get out of this yourself Grandpa?”

For a few seconds he was silent and then his roaring laughter made me laugh along.
He stopped laughing and said: “I can’t!” And we both went along laughing.
Now the work was done in reverse, everything was taken apart again. After that was done, he told me we would go the park and have an ice cream. “Tomorrow is another day! I’ll finish the work then.”

Hand in hand we walked out of the street. After a while he squeezed my hand a bit: “Please don’t tell Grandma.” I nodded and was already thinking about which flavor I would choose.
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