Dad's Best Tools
By Patty Eggertsson

My husband wears his heart on his sleeve when he has a power tool in his  hands. Actually, even a hammer will incite joyful emotion, but a chainsaw or an electric drill makes him almost giddy. He walks around with his back a little straighter and his eyes shining as he approaches his project, like a bounty hunter cornering an elusive prey. It must be a Y chromosome kind of thing, because I can tell you for a fact that I have never seen a woman that ecstatic at the thought of pouring over patterns and yards of fabric she wouldn't buy in a million years except to make a child's super-hero Halloween costume.

There is something about mastering your universe, I guess, when you have the power to create and destroy something with a Black and Decker at your fingertips. Maybe it's akin to giving birth, but I just can't see how installing a ceiling fan or pressure cleaning the driveway can give you the same rush.

I will say that my husband has come a long way since his early days of home improvement, when he would make seven or eight trips to Home Depot in a single day just to get the materials to put up a towel rack. That was when his brother affectionately dubbed him "Mr. Turkeywrench".

He loves his tools, but they have occasionally betrayed him. Like the weekend I took the kids to visit my parents and came home to find him on crutches with a huge gash on his calf, thanks to an errant axe that slipped when he was chopping up a stump. Thirty-eight stitches later he was back out there pounding away, albeit a little more respectful of the instrument that chops through skin as indiscriminately as it does wood.

The hands that grip the electric drill so tightly are the same ones that gently cradled our children when they were babies. They are the powerful arms that lifted them up to the sky in play and wrapped around them, offering comfort when they were hurt. This man, who is at times clumsy with a power saw, has seldom faltered using the real tools we need to build our home: patience, respect, kindness, consistency and a sense of humor. He has instilled a strong work ethic in our children by working two jobs at times, and still has the energy at the end of the day to coach multiple sports and help them with homework. He will sit patiently at the dinner table for hours with our littlest, trying to show him why 3 x 4 will always be 12. He has hit thousands of fly balls to our oldest son, making him automatic in the outfield. He encourages our daughter to strive for excellence whether she is on a basketball court or in a classroom. He teaches by example. And he provides us with all the tools we need to be successful and happy.

Maybe the next time he gets the urge to build something, I'll remind him that he doesn't need a hammer to be a Craftsman.

© Copyright, Patricia Eggertsson, 1999. All rights reserved worldwide.

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