The workshop was quiet and filled with the smell of wood, maple, oak, and pine. Daddy was standing by his workbench sanding a board, getting it smooth. I waited quietly for him to notice me. This was his sanctuary, a place where he came to relax, to create, and often share words about life. He finally saw me and motioned to a stool for me to sit, throwing me some sandpaper. It was understood that I would help him. He took my hand and showed me how to sand the wood. This was the fine sanding done just before the staining.
Daddy left me to the sanding and picked up his two hammers, one was a Ball Pein and the other an Edward Oak claw hammer. He used these to build hope chest and jewelry boxes. He did build me a bookcase and a toy box. He talked to me often about doing things that relaxed your mind and to build things for others. He always built things that lasted and gave to others rarely keeping anything for himself. I loved the time I spent in Daddy’s workshop. It was a time when we were the closest and I could feel his love the most.
After Daddy passed, I went to his woodshop to say goodbye for it was there in that shop with all the smells, the wood, and the sawdust that I learned who he was and what he felt. He was always a mystery to me. He had a third-grade education and could only print his letters. After we left the farm him and mom, who also had little education, did well in life, but his greatest gifts to me were quietly spoken words, his love, his kindness, and two hammers that I still have. They always remind me when he would say tap do not hammer, be proud of what you do, and always do something for others without expecting anything in return.