“Measure twice, cut once” he told me, as I looked up for approval, armed with a pencil and ruler. He was always so patient; I wanted it all done now – fire up the table saw, hand me the drill, turn on the grinder, get out the paint, it’s time to put the plan into action, let’s get this elastic-band car built.
But he was never afraid of time.
We spent countless hours in that garage; planning, drawing, measuring, strategizing, cutting, drilling, inventing. I never really cared much for black liquorice but I did whenever I was in that space, pulling the colourful candy coated pieces out of his aluminium travel mug as if they were fuel to our craftsmanship.
He wouldn’t present me with the answers or finish work for me, rather he put the tools and the strategy into my hands – he wasn’t afraid of failure, it’s like he always knew I would figure it out eventually. How do we build a kite? How do we make stilts? (Followed by “how do I walk on stilts?”) How can we build a noisemaker? How do airplanes fly? He challenged me not only to be inquisitive but to discover the answers.
Years later, instead of building wooden cars I was sitting in his car, behind the wheel for my first time. I wanted to drive everywhere, down the street, around the mall, out to the highway and into the city. Rather we circled around an empty gravel parking lot, putting down pop cans and squishing them under the tires. Left tire – squish. Right tire – squish. Reverse – squish. He got out of the car and put more cans down. Repeat.
His patience never wavered, he knew I would figure it out.
And sure enough as time passed I did figure things out, after trials and revisions, after hits and misses, I gained an appreciation for his patience.
Eventually the time came when it was my turn to wait and be patient for him. It was during this time I finally understood the meaning behind the well-known, sometimes cliche verse that simply states:
Love is patient.
And now the dreaded time has come for me to have patience until I see him again, but I don’t think he left without knowing - I’ll figure things out.
Rest in peace Grandpa, I love you.