Sunday, January 06, 2008

Lost and found

My father and I picked up some of my grandfather's tools today. In thirty plus years, I never stepped foot in that workshop without Doe being present. No one did. His shop was hallowed ground. Nobody dared to trespass.

It smelled of oil and sawdust and rusting iron. Everything quiet, completely still. Behind us, a storm brewing in the sky. Dark clouds. Cold wind. Somewhere, in the long hereafter, Doe watched intently. We could feel the weight of his stare. We bore it sullenly. Trying to be respectful to the memory of everything he build in there.

I'll inherit a few of his tools. A ban saw. A drill press. Maybe a router. Some pipe cutters. An ax. And a bunch of C-clamps. I also saved some potential museum pieces, including a vacuum tube tester and set of WWII headphones.

I look forward to working with my grandfather's tools. To channel his spirit through the wood and metal and see what he can help me conjure.

But as we started to leave, I noticed an odd jumble of tools dangling off a peg on the wall. Everything browned with age and smothered in dust. But the first two pieces stood out from the rest. Hung at odd angles. Hinted at something.

"Let's go," said Dad, walking toward the truck.

"Hold on a second, " I said. Dad turned around to see what I'd found. "Check this out." And I picked up those first two pieces. Held them up, in front of me. Slowly corrected the angles.

"The compass and the rule," I said.

"The sign of the Masons?"

I nodded and smiled.

When I got home, I asked Meg to pose them. Holding them the way I held them for my father. So he could see the symbol.

. . .

My grandfather left those two tools there on purpose. They sat waiting, patiently. A decade or more. Temping the person who found them to grasp their meaning.

Today, I did.

I found them, Doe.

And even though we're separated by a veil death, I know you're smiling, because I solved your final riddle.

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