my poppo would probably have liked chip hailstone. an as-long-as-i-can-remember subscriber of national geographic, i imagine he would have liked the show ‘life below zero’. he was good at solving problems, figuring things out, making stuff out of nothing. his words of wisdom were simple. “plan ahead,” he would say. he was a card-holding-club-member-regular-reader of the handyman magazine; he easily could have been a contributing writer. he would have loved chip hailstone’s comment, “you can make a long piece of wood short, but you can’t make a short piece of wood long.” ahyup. it’s in the details. plan ahead.
we were coffee-sitting around the kitchen table. it was a late florida morning, years ago now, and coffee break time was an every-day thing. my dad suddenly got up from his chair and left the room, using his “stick” to get to the bedroom and back. he returned moments later and started to speak. “i have something for you, brat,” he started. “with these years on your own you have learned so much out of necessity. it’s time for you to have this. you have earned it.” he handed me his handyman club membership card and said, “this is yours now. i’m proud of you.”
it was big news to get this card from my poppo and i didn’t underestimate its import. it would not have made me more gratified to receive a grammy award. his -my- membership card is in plain view in my studio, reminding me of my dad and his words to me.
we watch ‘life below zero’ episodes and there are simple wisdoms dancing throughout the show. things i can hear my dad say in his brooklyn accent. things you think, “well, duh, of course.” the same things you realize after-the-fact that you should have thought about before-the-fact. yup, poppo. plan ahead.