Sunday, January 24, 2010

Carrying on the tradition....


The house we now call home... comes with a big garage. Not as old as the house, but it's huge wooden beams and old barn floor tell the story of it's age.

Long ago, someone lived here who believed in wasting nothing. To cover small holes in the garage floor boards, old license plates were nailed down. The earliest is this one from 1939. The newest is almost fifty years fresher.

I can picture a man, dressed in overalls, on his knees in the garage nailing down this plate. Done, he stands a moment looking at his work, and then turns away as he says 'That'll do."

I spent a few hours this morning arranging tools and reloading gear out in the garage, thinking a little about the history as I went. For twice my lifetime that garage has been there, and probably been the refuge of a working man the entire time. In the attic, boxes of animal traps lay next to stacks of old lumber. In the rafters, bit's of leftover molding hang beside an ancient oil lantern.

Now, my gear is settling into a place where the spirits of men long gone watch over it. I can feel them in the old stained wood of the walls, and in the hardware still holding cabinet doors straight after fifty years of use.

It feels pretty good too.

5 comments:

Crucis said...

When I was growing up on the farm, we had a detached garage. There was so much more in that garage than the family car. At one time we had a chick incubator---eight levels and two hundred chicks. Each level contained two heat lamps to keep the chick warm. All went well until an ice storm hit and the temps dropped into the single digits. No power and no heat in the garage. That spring, the incubator was moved to our basement next to the coal furnace.

The walls of the garage was covered with old license plates. Many from outside Illinois and dating back to the early thirties. I don't remember the oldest plate on the wall. When Dad bought the farm in 1953, he continued the tradition. Each year, after the new car license plates arrived in the mail, Dad would install the new plates and nail one of the old plates to the wall. That tradition ended sometime in the 1970s. I was married and lived in KC. Illinois changed how they issued plates and issued stickers instead of plates.

I suppose all traditions must end at some point, but this one kept times of old alive for several decades.

Carteach0 said...

I deleted a comment here by mistake. I owe someone an apology...

Crucis said...

I didn't see anything come through via e-mail. BTW, mind if I steal, uhhh, barrow your "more coffee, please" cartoon?

It fits my post for tomorrow just right.

Carteach0 said...

Be my guest! I stole it..... 'borrowed it' ..... fair and square myself.

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