Dad’s Garage


If you needed a hammer or a saw or a roll of red caps or a broken broom handle or a nest of telephone wire or a anti-seize paste or anything you could ever imagine you could find it out in Dad’s garage. The core of the garage was a beautiful old work bench, so dark and scarred that it looked medieval. There was an iron vise bolted to it and jar after jar of screws, nails, and nuts arrayed along the back edge. An old radio, tuned forever to the local NPR station, would crackle on and and stay on while you worked out there. If you needed a tire iron or a jack or a bucket for used motor oil or a length of tubing to start work you’d dig around that bench and risk jostling that radio until you pulled it out, a prize that came at just the beginning of the race.
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I haven’t been sleeping well lately – the heat and allergies have conspired together to wake me every few hours and I’ve had some strange dreams that were quickly cut off by a sneeze or an inability to breathe.

But I had a fascinating dream last night that I wanted to share, if only to express the imagery of it and how deeply ingrained some writing has gotten into my unconscious. I’ve dreamt of my grandmother’s old house in Martins Ferry – the house my father grew up in – for a decade now. It was a one-story post-war brick ranch salt box with green carpeting and white walls. It was two hours from my home in Columbus and we spent entire summers there, leaving my parents to their own devices. The kitchen floor was linoleum and there were wooden floors in the bedrooms. I remember staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live re-runs, the 1980s episodes, and listening to the house creak and settle in the heat and bottles shatter on the street outside as kids rode through the night in American muscle cars. This was 1980s rural Ohio and there wasn’t much else to do besides watch classic comedy, play Nintendo games, and drive around in the dark. I was too young to drive.
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