This post is my entry for July’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by James.

I’ve written about tools many times on this site. I have an entire Uses page that lists many of the tools I own and use for various things. In the purest sense, a tool is nothing more than something that aids in doing something. A spoon is a tool. A pen is a tool. The M2 MacBook Air I’m using to create this post is a tool.

The tools that mean the most to me, though, aren’t the tools I tend to have written about to date. They should be, given the name and goal of the site, but until this thought provoking carnival theme, the idea hadn’t struck me that they’re more than deserving of being written about. The tools I’m speaking of are hand tools that have been passed down to me by my dad. They each have unique and rich lineage. Some were passed down to him by elder family members. Some were found. Others were purchased by him when tools were made well enough to outlive their owners.

One of the best examples of these tools is a pair of linesman pliers. I don’t recall which family member gave him these, but many years ago, they became mine. We were doing a job together and when the job was done, my dad and I were sorting and packing up our respective tools to go back to their respective toolboxes. I picked them up and attempted to hand them to him, and that’s when the transfer initiated. He looked at them, and as he does, said something like, Do you know where those came from?” Even if he’d told me more than once, I likely didn’t remember or I just wanted to hear it again. I may have offered some tidbit of info like a name of someone I know gave him things of the sort. He grabbed them and gave me the history once again. He told me jobs they’d been used for that I had experienced the end product or result. He would hand them back to me and they’d feel heavier than when they were in my hand minutes before, with the added weight of significance they possess beyond physical grams.

Linesman pliers that were built to last.Linesman pliers that were built to last.

He looked at them, and then at me and said, You keep em. I’ve gotten my use out of them and you’ve got a lot of jobs ahead of you.” I’m almost certain that, without fail, I’d always respond to a magical tool transfer moment like this with, Are you sure? I know they mean a lot to you.” Never a man to dwell in the sentimental, he’d respond, If you want them, have them. If not, I’ll hold on to them.” Seconds would pass, and then he’d add, Until I die. Then you and your brother can fight over them.” I took the pliers and added them to my inventory. Each time I go into my toolbox and grab them, I know they’ll get the job done. I can’t wait to pass them down to one of my own kids, sharing the history and references to jobs I’ve done with them that they’ll have a connection to.

I’m on the verge of both tears and laughter writing these words. Things my dad has said to me over my lifetime are very much like those linesman pliers. They’ve done the job they needed to do. They also land heavier now than they did when he said them to me then. He’s at a later stage of his life and while the lineage of those tools can be recalled and retold as many times as necessary, newer details and stories just don’t stick. While it’s all part of the journey of life, it’s difficult to not have the tools to hand him as he’s always had it to hand to me.

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writing   carnival  
2024 Jul·02

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