Let me tell you a story shall I? Admittedly, I’m going to “age” myself right off the bat, but, oh well.
Once upon a time…way back in the day when there were “junior high schools” and classes were called “Home Ec” and “Shop”. This was when the “Shop” teacher was horrified by the mere thought of girls invading his sacred male domain. Mind you, I suppose that when I managed to somehow forget to tighten the little dowhatsit (you know, the thing that looks like a sewing machine foot” on the bottom of the jigsaw), turned the machine on and proceeded to watch in fascination the lumber go flying up and down thereby twisting the blade thingy into a pretzel-like formation, well it didn’t help his impression much.
Anyhow, back to the story. While faced with yet another troublesome piece of machinery-no not the table saw or welding torches, this would be about my nemesis, the sewing machine. After “stitching” wobbly lines, chewing up fabric, breaking needles, jamming bobbins and muttering more than a few choice words…I mean, after “learning how to sew basic stitches”, we were expected to complete a “project”. I would like to say that I almost looked forward to making my wood bread cutting board more, but I digress. I chose to do an apron. Ok, not a “girly” apron. I wanted to make a denim workshop apron to hold tools and such for my dad. I am sure I swore up and down, couldn’t get the stitches right, and probably stabbed my hand seven kabillion times, but I finished it. And drunken seams dancing on those front pockets, I gave it to him anyhow. Now, I can’t say I remember his reaction, nor do I have any distinct memory of him wearing it.
Here is the “funny” thing. Years and years later, not too long after he passed away, my sister and I were cleaning out his little workshop shed, where he puttered around on his wood projects, creating things with love for people he knew. There, covered in little bits of sawdust, hung in place with all his other well used tools…there was that denim apron. The strap that went around the neck was held together with a safety-pin, and dad must have kept on wearing it safety-pin and all.
I’ve been mulling over what to wear this weekend to paint at The Brush Off. When I paint at home, it’s a pair of pink track pants from yesteryear, and an old t-shirt, both with more holes than public decency allows. I’ll most likely have to “upgrade” to something at least in one piece. There is one thing that I am sure of, it doesn’t matter. You see, the first time I painted my first painting, I set up my palette and brushes and knives. I took a deep breath. Then, I pulled the denim strap over my head, making sure the safety-pin still held, and have never looked back. My dad never saw me paint; I hadn’t started before he died. But I am bringing him along for the ride this weekend with something borrowed, something blue.