my dad, a dead mouse and a fraction kit

  • My dad likes to tell this story.
  • He had an art project due.  He remembered the hour before it was due.  He was in shop class. The same teacher I would have years later thanks to a small town school.  He and his friends literally threw together a cityscape with left over wood pieces.  Throw in some saw dust for good measure. And the best part, he and his friends found a dead mouse.
  • The perfect accessory for a “well thought out” art project.
  • He turned in the art project to rave reviews. “Oh Glenn. The time and thought you put into this” he likes to tell us while he chuckles.  He reminds us that he and his friends stifled laughter as the art teacher went on and on and on.
  • His art project got a prized location of display. The school library.  The entire art project – even the dead mouse – was on display.  He likes to share how eventually the librarian said, “Glenn, can we at least get rid of the mouse?”
  • I love this story my dad shares. It reminds me of all my dad has done.  How he has built homes for himself as he and my mom build their second house together. How he has built a successful business. How he has recycled materials before it was the “cool” thing to do.
  • If I could give you a tour of the first house they built. The house I grew up in.  The house my sister and family now live in.  I could tell you where each piece of wood came from. Each accessory. Especially the water fountains that used to work.  The doors. The staircase. The light fixtures.
  • And now they are doing the same with their new home.  How cool that their fireplace has the exact same slate that used to be a school chalkboard.  The very school where once my dad was throwing togehter pieces of wood, dirt and a dead mouse.
  • What prompted this memory?
  • My goal for the summer is to purge though “stuff” I’ve collected over the years with a promise to finally organize them.  What did I find yesterday?
  • A fraction kit with my dad’s name on it in my grandma’s handwriting. A reminder that my dad was once a little boy using his creativity in unusal ways – complete with dust, wood and a mouse to the rave reviews of his instructors. A reminder that he became a strong man who has created and valued every person and thing around him. A reminder that I want my boys to grow up like that too.
  • Kory will have a lesson on fractions today.  A lesson that includes his grandpa’s fraction kit along with a story about his grandpa and a dead mouse.

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