I want to warn you, the posting schedule here may be a little off this week. That’s because I’m taking on a pretty big project: building a teardrop camper. First popular in the 1930’s and 40’s, teardrops are small campers that resemble, well, a teardrop. For example:
You can, of course, buy one commercially built and ready to go. But, I’m feeling adventurous and plan on building my own. That’s not unprecedented: the early teardrops were all homebuilt from plans in magazines like Popular Mechanics. Those plans have resurfaced and teardrops are making a comeback because their small size and lightweight mean they’re towable by most compact cars and don’t kill fuel mileage. Not only that, they’ve got a certain kitschy-cool vibe. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like this and I’m kind of excited about the challenge
Now, you might be wondering what place all this has on something that purports to be a religious/spiritual blog. In truth, it doesn’t. But, it’s my blog and I get to decide what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Snarkiness aside, there two reasons I’m writing about this. First, it’s going to be my home in a couple of weeks at the Wild Goose Festival, a progressive religious/spiritual gathering in the NC mountains. Yes, I’m aware that’s cutting it a bit fine on the time, but I told you I was feeling adventurous. The second is that this is my first big construction project since April of 2012.
For those of you who don’t know, that’s when my dad passed away. Most of the times I’ve talked about Daddy, I’ve spoken about his philosopher’s heart. But, the man was good with his hands, too. Born at the end of the Depression, he inherited the “make do or do without” ethos of that era and he was one of those people who could do a fair job at most anything he tried. As his son, I was free labor which means I worked on many projects with him. You couldn’t be around my father very long without learning something and I learned a lot of things. One is the feeling that comes from building something with your own two hands.
Something I didn’t learn from him is reading directions. For the life of me, I can’t remember my dad looking at a set of directions before starting a project. More than once, I watched him plunge in and end up painted into a corner. Then, and only then, would he pull out the directions and see how he was supposed to do things. To his credit, just as often, he got things done without cracking the book. And, a lot of the stuff he put together is still holding up years later. So, he must been doing something right.
It’s going to be weird this week, building something without hearing a story or a laugh from Daddy. I won’t hear him cussing up a storm when things don’t go the way he wants (a Rieves family trait and one I most definitely inherited). But, he’ll be there with every nail I drive, every screw I turn, every cut I make. Because, everything I know about this I learned from him.