Father’s Day, 2012

This is a hammer.  (No, really?)

Specifically, it’s a Stanley Tool Works 16oz framing hammer.  At 16oz, it’s a little light for a framing hammer, but I don’t have the arm strength to use a heavier 20-32oz framing hammer.  Still, it’s an incredibly useful tool, probably the most useful tool in my toolbox.

I’m pretty sure I had this hammer in college. I may have used it in the original improvements (such as they were) we made on the original 777 Techwood Theta Xi house. I know I had it after college, first in Arizona and later in Colorado.  I can’t begin to count the projects where I’ve used this tool:  when I finished the basement, built the storage shed, put up the privacy fence, remodeled the bathrooms, laid tile in the kitchen, build the camp box; the list is almost endless.  There’s not much around the house that I’ve done or built where I didn’t use this hammer.

It was a gift from my dad, years ago.  I don’t recall the situation; in fact, it may not have been anything special.  He did that with a number of tools he gave me.  Just out of the blue he’d give me something he thought might be useful.

Sometimes the things we pick up in life are like that.  We don’t see them as all that important or useful at the time, but as life goes by we begin to use them when the need arises without thinking about where we picked them up.  When our son was on the way we needed a changing table but we didn’t have a lot of free cash.  I thought, “I can make one from some plywood using my saw and hammer and some paint”, and so I did.  We used it for years through both kids.

Having tools like a framing hammer in your toolbox gives a kind of confidence to face life. It gives you a sense of, “I can do this.  I can fix this problem.  I can take care of myself and the others in my family. I can help other people.”

I think my dad knew that when he gave it to me.  He knew I’d need to be on my own someday, and that I’d need a toolbox filled with useful tools to make it in this world. So one day he gave me a hammer.  Now I think of him every time I use it (which is often), and I’m thankful that he did.

Thanks, dad.  And happy Father’s Day.

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