Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Heirlooms On Board

New Bern, NC

I've written a lot about the appeal of simplifying your life as an essential part to living the cruising life.   Not owning a lot of stuff gives you back a huge degree of freedom.   However, we are only human and we are allowed to have emotional attachments to a few things that seem to have been part of our lives forever.

I wrote about our never bag, where we store stuff we may never use, but are unwilling to throw away.   (Our friend Mari commented on that never bag post. She said, "Never bag; my husband has never barns!")  I'm not talking about that stuff.

Libby, very wisely, distributed our family heirlooms among our children.   Therefore when we go to visit them we find objects that make us feel very much at home.   No, I'm talking about heirlooms that we carry on the boat.

I still have and use a few of Libby's father's tools.  They are great, but they hark back to his lifetime, not mine.  As for my lifetime, I have only two heirlooms.  One is my thermos.  I blogged about it before.  The second is my green tool box.  See the picture below.

I don't know when I first acquired that green tool box. It feels like I've had it forever. I distinctly remember carrying it on board every previous boat we ever owned before Tarwathie. I use it every day. (Yes every day. While living on a boat hardly a day ever goes by when something doesn't need fixing.)   You can tell it's well used because all the paint is gone from the top.  That is not something I did, it just resulted from normal wear and tear.

 The latch on my tool box broke long ago. I use a bent nail to fix it. I've had to replace the axle pins on several of the hinges. But now the stamped steel body is rusting through in many places. I fear that my tool box is reaching its end of life.   I am not going to paint it with Rustoleum.  I did that to my thermos and I immediately regretted doing that.  The familiar appearance has much to do witht he emotional value of an heirloom.

Yesterday I almost bought a new tool box, but then it hit me.  If I do that, I will discard 50% of the heirloom objects that link me to my past.  It would be an unforgivable sin.   So this morning, I got out my tubes of J. B. Weld and attempted so repair the weakest spots.   The stronger rusty parts of the box I keep soaked in WD-40.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to keep that tool box going for the rest of my natural life.

If this was O Henry's blog, it would end someday with a final blog post saying that one day Dick tried to pick up his tool box and the bottom felt out.  Or that one day Dick's loving family and friends secretly bought Dick a new tool box as a surprise and discarded the old box.  Either way, that was the day Dick died.

p.s.   What about Libby's on board heirlooms?  Well, she's got me :-)   She also has a photo album with a few non-digital photos from our past.  She may have more but, I can't think of them.

1 comment:

  1. I have a toolbox that my dad had when I was growing up. When I was 18 I bought a set of tools and it came with a massive four drawer toolbox that was much too big for carrying in my Pinto. So, I traded it to my dad for his toolbox.

    It was red and a few yrs ago, it was starting to show its age and rusting a bit, so I painted it with some black Rustoleum I had. That was much too dark, so I spritzed some White on it in random over-spray type spurts.

    It's okay now and I preserved the box before it got too far gone. But, when I look at it, I still see the bright red toolbox of my childhood.

    Imagine my chidren's confusion when I tell them to get something out of the red toolbox and they go to the big craftsman four drawer unit that I now have back from Dad and I say, "No, not that red one, the other one" as I point to the black and white box...


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