80 years ago today, my grandmother gave birth to her second son, who grew up to join the Navy, be a carpenter, a volunteer firefighter, the guy who changed the lightbulb on top of the watertower, a farmer, and my father.
He was the kind of man who kept two pairs of wooden crutches hanging on a nail in our garage, just in case. When my sister hit me in the face with a snowball the winter I was in 1st grade, breaking my glasses, he used wire and electrical tape to affix my broken frame to an old frame of his, circa 1958. I wore those glasses for two months.
In the mid-1970s, when our local hardware store was going out of business, he and his brother bought up the remaining stock, displays and all. I just assumed everyone had racks of knobs and hinges in their basements.
He and my mother owned the local laundromat when they were first married, and lived in a trailer house on mainstreet, right next door. When my sister was born (or about to be) he bought the house next to his mother and informed his wife they'd be moving. When the laundromat went under, he stored at least four of the washers to use for parts or replacements in the house they moved to. They still required quarters to run, but he broke the locks on the coin drawers, so we used the same quarters over and over. He gave another washer to a family friend, who lived a few blocks away, in exchange for haircuts for his family. I didn't go to a professional salon until I was 12.
He loved to play games, and had a tendency toward obsession. When our family found a game we really like, we'd play every night, sometimes for months. He often made his own game elements, and created a customized Aggravation board, and wooden Rack-o racks (because he said the cards stuck in the plastic ones). He was excellent at cribbage, and had elaborate rules for jigsaw puzzles (which are a post unto themselves).
He loved my mother, and my sister and me, and his parents, and all of his siblings, and his entire extended family, and pretty much most people he ever met.
He died in 2002.
I miss him still.