My father’s workshop

25/11/2012

This Thanksgiving holiday our family traveled to the home and town where I grew up, so very long ago.  My parents who were married for almost 50 years, died a few decades ago, and now my sisters share this home.  Every time I enter the house I feel as if I have really come home, although I have not lived there for more than four decades.  My sisters have done a remarkable job of making this house their own, without losing the “feel” of our shared childhood.

This year was as many before it.  All six of us shared bedrooms and one bath; my husband and my elder sister made the Thanksgiving feast; we shopped; we went into the attic to reminisce, where we looked at old furniture, handbags, and framed pictures; we talked, and talked some more, and finally, the “men” went into the basement to play pool.

As in years past I went downstairs after hearing the clacking of the balls, and shouts of who cheated, to see the game for myself.  This year, for some reason, I walked to the far end of the basement.  It is a dark and unused corner now.  There is a coal room, where coal tumbled down a chute to stoke the coal furnace that kept us warm, and there is my father’s workshop.  As I stood alone, surrounded by the voices of the men I love, I could  see my father – his back to me, as he mended a broken lamp or tried out different washers he kept in a tin to tighten a screw on one of mother’s appliances.  He had an old ashtray on his table where he would keep his “stogie” as he worked.  The scent would fill the cavernous floor, and when he came back upstairs it stayed with him.  I stood and waited.  When I could smell his cigar, I knew he was still there.

I gave thanks, and joined my family.

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One Response to “My father’s workshop”


  1. […] clearly remember coal being delivered into our “coal cellar” at the window when I was young. It was always a big event and caused a lot of bustle. I loved the […]

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