Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grandpa's "Scrap Wood Art"

Grandpa, Grandma (with bunny ears), me and RDB

I had always known that camping ran in my blood.  Dad was an Eagle Scout, his parents had property they called "the campsite", and we lived waaaay out in the middle of nowhere so growing up felt like one big outdoor adventure. It was only natural that when RDB and I started camping that I wanted to share our adventures with Grandma and Grandpa - the old fashioned way, of course - through snail mail.  I started printing out a few photos from each trip, jotting down a few thoughts, and sending it along to them.  It's been quite a number of years since they've been camping but I knew they still love and enjoyed it.

Grandpa's always been a tinkerer; for a good portion of the early years of his retirement, he helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity.  I have a number of wooden pieces from my childhood that he manufactured: a bear shaped crayon holder with my name on it, a baseball bat/ball/glove holder from when I played in Little League, two end tables that have moved with me to every home I've ever lived in.  About a month into our camping I came home to a box in the mail from Grandpa. I was delighted and thrilled by what I found inside - a 3 page hand-written letter and some of what he calls 'scrap wood art.' 

"I have been into a little bit of everything over the years," he wrote. "What I'm sending along will need some of your desire for color and assembly.  It is plywood, so it will need finishing for sealing. That is your decision to make."

Hanging on a tree at our first '12 camp out at Lake Livingston

I wish I had taken a photo of it before I painted and assembled the pieces together - but I was too anxious to complete this project, and send back to him a photo of the finished work.  He had made our family camping sign.  I was giddy with delight!!

"We appreciate the prints you sent of your Rockwood & truck - it is a great way to go.  Your Grandma, your father and aunts sure enjoyed the 'Apache' fold out we had. Your Dad used a cot and his Scout bed-roll under one of the slide out beds.

One trip into Northern Wisc. we had a 3am visit from a black bear that wiped the chuck boxes off the picnic log table even though they were tied to the table with Nylon Shroud cord out of a parachute. We had left a small dish of ham fryings in the cabinets to use for egg frying  in the morning rather than in the cooler locked in the car trunk.

Well, my scribbling is catching up with me. Love you both very much.  Happy Camping and stay in touch."

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