Fluffy white snow glistened on the ground a few weeks before Christmas, 2007. I have never been a fan of the cold, losing feeling in my limbs or wet saggy clothes, but I was determined to trudge my way to Potter’s Golf Course to sled ride with friends. That determination was shot down quickly, as Grandpa’s rusty, red Ford pick-up truck eased into the steep driveway. Excited to be out of school and out of the house for the day, I bolted out the door and right into Grandpa.
He shrugged off the collision and smiled, “Where’re you headed kiddo?”
Aggravated that I had to carry on a conversation I answered repulsively, “Potter’s to sled.” Instantly realizing the insolence of my answer, I attempted to make up for it with a genuine smile and playful pat on the back.
“Ah sledding. I remember when …” and he went on with a story I’d surely heard hundreds of times before. “What do you think? We could work this afternoon and take Grandma to Cracker Barrel tonight.”
All I could do was stare with a blank look on my face. He had to know I wasn’t paying attention, just as he had to know I wanted to go sledding. He repeated himself, “What do you say? Let’s go out to the shop and make toys for Children’s Hospital? Christmas always sneaks up and I want to make as many as possible.” My heart melted as the words left Grandpa’s mouth. Not so much because I couldn’t go sledding, but for the undeniable desire Grandpa possesses to help others with no consideration of accepting anything in return.
The urge to be with friends dwindled, “Of course,” I grinned. Each year Grandpa made various toys for the children who would be in the hospital during the holiday season. I was especially proud that year, because I helped design the toys with Grandpa. His sole intentions were to turn an average unadorned toy into a unique work of his own.
Grandpa’s workshop was my favorite place. Every inch was covered with a peculiar tool, not the usual hammer and screwdriver. Grandpa was not a fan of organization. His philosophy was if you lock it where you leave it you’ll find it where you left it. Nobody knew where he laid his chainsaw or drill, but you could ask him for any gizmo and he’d tell you exactly where it was.
The crisp winter wind shook the pine trees as Grandpa unlocked the shop and shoved the heavy wooden door open. As we stepped inside, the smell of sawdust engulfed the air and a faint scent of fire came from the old wood stove....