I cleared some space in the garage for a delivery of firewood the other day, but that’s the only seasonal task I have, and it took all of five minutes. We live in a condo, so there’s no garden to clear out, no leaves to rake, no storm windows to put on. We never owned a house until we lived in Iowa City at the turn of the millennium, and during those two years, I did what needed to be done around the place and precious little more. I am not a person who takes pleasure in working with his hands, unless they’re on a keyboard.
I’ve never had a knack for it. Maybe it’s because I never had develop the knack, although I suspect otherwise, for I have been helpless for as long as I can remember. We had Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs at home when I was a kid, but I could never build anything. I managed to get through a required industrial arts course in middle school with all 10 fingers, but it was a near thing. From that day to this, I have lived by Clint Eastwood’s dictum that a man’s got to know his limitations. It doesn’t matter that I come from a long line of farmers, people for whom fixing and rigging and tinkering becomes second nature, because they often have neither the inclination, time, nor money to have it done for them. One of my brothers still farms, and the other was a professional carpenter for a long time and does things with tools that seem one click north of magic to me. The Mrs., born and raised in the city, has greater aptitude with tools than I.
However: There is something about autumn that makes me regret this shortcoming. I should be able to secure my domicile so that the wife and cat may pass the winter safe and warm, storing up nuts for the winter like the squirrels do. But my most viable option is to hope that the street to the nut store gets plowed so I can go there when it snows.
The music accompanying this post has nothing to do with the subject of this post—it’s just something cool that popped up on shuffle the other day. Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” is one of the songs on my Desert Island list, three-and-a-half perfect minutes that have stayed with me since I first heard the song on the radio in the spring of 1972. Here’s a Canadian TV performance from that year on a show called Rollin’ on the River, which was hosted by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition long before Kenny Rogers became the household name he would be at the end of the 1970s.
In 1993, Aimee Mann covered “Baby Blue.” Her version was included on a 1996 Badfinger tribute album called Come and Get It, and it’s definitely worth a click.