Sunday, December 09, 2007

All in a Day's Work

My Dad was a Master Gunsmith. This was back in the day when guns were considered to be tools, works of art, part of life. Not like today where they are viewed with fear and seen as implements of death.

In his basement workshop, my Dad would turn out exquisite pieces of craftsmanship with hand-rubbed finish on the stocks, shiny bluing on the barrel and precision aim.

Downstairs he had two lathes, a huge workbench full of exciting gizmo's, a small target range, and a cluttered pile of greasy, ominous looking tools. Except they weren't ominous, they were fun; and my brothers and I spent hours perched on the work bench tightening various hammers, screwdrivers, files, rasps and pliers into the vice grips.

My Dad, unlike most of my friend's fathers who were scary and aloof, really liked hanging out with us and teaching us things and harassing us. He was a stickler for good grammar, proper manners and enlarging our vocabularies. In fact before my mini-stroke, I had the largest vocabulary of anyone I'd ever met. Also, I had Very Decent manners and could edit a manuscript for grammatical correctness in seconds flat, too.
I also have fairly perfect teeth. And this is because of the Tooth Extractor, and my Dad's cunning use of this implement of torture, pain, and horror.

One of my more delightful memories of childhood is this nasty pair of pliers, which I absconded with as part of my inheritance when we were breaking up and dividing Dad's property after he died.

Anytime one of us kids had a loose tooth, he would race into the basement, dig around in the filing dust and grease and reappear with these scary things in his grip. He would brandish them before our wee, frightened little faces and click them open and shut, cackling with evil glee.

"I can take care of that loose tooth for you. Why should I spend good money on a dentist for you kids when this Dental Extractor would do the trick in no time? Just a little pain, some blood and guts and think of the money I would save!"

We would then scream "DAAAaaaad!" in utter panic and race around the kitchen table half a dozen times as if that would help us escape.

He would then capitulate and sigh in total, mock despondency, "You win this time, but sooner or later I will get to pull one of your teeth."

My Dad, Master Gunsmith, Amateur Dentist.


Joy said...

Wow! I never knew your dad was so crafty! Amazing! I also couldn't believe the story you told below, about the guy you found on the side of the highway. Are you okay? That sounds like something from a horror film! That's awful!

Miss Pink Ponsonby said...

Yes, I'm okay but I have a lot of remorse that I didn't at least find out what happened to him from the hospital. It was definitely one of the more intense experiences of my life so far.