By Jim Hagarty
My father-in-law was a very good minister, artist and woodworker. We inherited seven or eight of his big, heavy woodshop machines and have had them in the shed for the past year. A few months ago, it became clear to me that they would be better situated in our finished and heated garage where we can make a proper workshop. Since then I have fretted and worried about how this transfer of machines would be accomplished. I knew I needed help but foresaw a number of problems with the project. Broken windows, scratched doors, injured helpers, damaged machinery. Where would we get a dolly we would need to carry the heavier pieces? I wonder, if I could put all that anxiety together, whether or not it would take up two hours or three or four. Maybe.
Tonight, my son and a bunch of his 17-year-old friends happened to be over at our place for burgers and pop. Afterwards, I asked them if they could help me move the machines, thinking they might get three or four of the lighter ones moved. Sure, they said. And they did. All the machines were moved, settled, done in 10 minutes. Then they hopped in the van and drove off. Nothing broken or scratched, no pulled muscles, no dolly needed. They just got together and got it done, as though they were doing the dishes after supper.
A few minutes later, I took the dog for a walk and I noticed that old familiar tension behind my eyes and wistful tears sitting there. Oh, to be 17 again. To not look ahead and behind. To not think there are things you can’t do. To live every day as an adventure with your pals. To be forever in the moment.
What happens to us to take that away? Do we get too cynical, or too bored or too tired?
Last year I took a van load of those guys to Port Huron, Michigan, for the day. It was the most fun I have had in years, just listening to the banter, the joking, the expressions of joy and anticipation of good things to come. The talk of cars and girls and music. The finer things in life.