My Mom called me last night to tell me that the garage had burned down. Now this is not the garage at my parent’s farm.
It is the garage at the home where I lived from the age of six until I was married. We moved to this home in the suburbs of Fern Creek when I was six and my sister was four. Mom would take us out with a picnic lunch and we would play in the yard as she painted walls and made the house livable for our family.
The first priority when we moved in was for Dad to build a garage. I am not sure my dad has ever lived without a garage. Dad measured carefully, bought his materials, and built his garage. It was a nice two-car garage. Dad had built all kinds of organizational shelves, so he would know where anything was. Everything was carefully labeled.
I don’t think we ever parked a car in that garage.
Dad was into drag racing, which meant he had to take his boat from 0 to 55 or 60 in a quarter of a mile. He kept his boat, a red and black fiberglass boat named “Super Squirt” in top condition in the garage. He always had other projects going on the other side of the garage, including a project for us, which I may have written about in a tribute to my Dad. He designed and built a wooden playhouse for us with real windows. We played in the playhouse as Dad built it, loving the smell of shavings and being with Dad. He moved the finished playhouse to the middle of the backyard.
For a brief time it became home to the basset hounds we were raising and selling . Becky and I had to go in the house when someone bought a dog. We couldn’t look at those little puppies that we had seen from birth go to another home.
We loved playing in the playhouse, but one day we overstepped our bounds. Becky had a little BB gun, and as we played, she shot at a window of the playhouse, sending the BB in a direction to ricochet off my leg and then go through the window of the garage. It seemed like a long time to wait until Dad came home that night!
I did some serious damage to the garage when I first started driving. I did not like to drive in the dark, but I was driving that night, just coming home from play practice. I realized that a car that I did not recognize was following me. The car even turned into the driveway when I got home. I didn’t want to get out of the car, so I honked my horn for Dad to come out. By the time Dad came, a guy that I knew from school walked up to the porch. I guess he was driving his mom’s car. In my relief, I intended to move a little closer to the garage and park. Unfortunately, I hit the gas instead of the brake, ran into the garage door, and caused the stone on the front of the garage to fall off in big hunks. That may have been the most embarrassing moment of my life! (Alright, just one of them.) My Dad was OK about it, because he knew I was scared and was doing what I was supposed to do in that situation.
From the time I was little, I loved to hear my dad work in the garage as I was going to sleep at night. Sounds of drills and hammering, my dad’s radio, his whistling, and noises that reflected whatever project he was working on was comforting to me. I can still hear, as an adult, someone working in a garage after dark, and think of my dad. For me, it meant security that my strong dad was right outside and our family was at peace.
Our neighbors didn’t always share this opinion, and I had to agree with them in several cases. Dad worked on his boat until midnight many times, and there was usually a group of high school guys hanging around watching. My dad would get the engine just right and he would want to try it out, not realizing the hour. To say it was loud was an understatement! Before we knew it, one or two police cars would pull in our driveway, calmly tell the guys to go home, and tell my dad to close shop for the night.
It was always interesting living with my family, and I loved it!
I had to go by the home today to see what had happened for myself. The garage was pretty much ruined. I got a few pictures and came home to blog.
Rest in peace, little garage. You gave all of us some great memories!