Doing Cool Stuff Not So Easy These Days

Here’s the “cargo” couch, built using cast-off materials.

A few days ago, I came across a photo of a couch I built in the 1970s. It was an interesting piece, following the “cargo” design and I put it together with scrap lumber given me by the foreman at a home construction site. The fabric I used came from rejects at a mill.

My boy, Evan, and me as carpenters.

It was heavy, solid and ugly–a perfect sofa for a single guy in a small apartment. I gave it to a friend for his birthday. Ultimately, he sold it.

That led me to think about all the stuff I’ve built over time, and it began to add up. Consider:

I’ve built four decks and two front porches, roofed a house, built (with my son and a neighbor) a nice utility building (photo above).

I used to work on my car doing routine stuff like replacing brake pads, changing oil, tuning up and repairing small malfunctions like torn upholstery, replacing various lights, changing tires, replacing solenoid switches and the many tasks we used to be able to perform ourselves before the engines became so complex that only computer techs could work on them.

I once sewed a parka from scratch for a newspaper story and it turned out well. I discovered that sewing is very much like carpentry in that it requires full concentration and furnishes real satisfaction when finished.

I’ve always had a garden and I have no idea how many trees (mostly fruit trees) I’ve planted over the years, but recent weather patterns have made that much more difficult. You almost have to be an agronomist to grow a damn tomato plant these days. Climate change is real and it’s a bitch.

Truth be told, I don’t really know what the purpose of this little rant-ette is, but here it is.

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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