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Gems in all sorts of things, including radio


June 13, 2018
For the longest time my sisters make fun of me because I can't seem to let anything go.

They see an old stairway banister, I see a plant stand. They see a useless wine bottle and I see something to drill a hole in and light up. I make purses out of my mom's old aprons and picture frames with pressed flowers.

They get to a point where they joke even about my beloved Fiero—parked for years as it was in front of the house.

"She's going to turn it into a planter," Roseann says. It's something I actually consider.

shadow
shadow
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This is a long time ago, when I was able to create. To see something beautiful in everything. And had the time and ambition to make things, to work with my hands.

Back then I had an ally. Someone who also saw possibilities—who helped free the "inner art" of things. He didn't make fun of my crazy ideas. He actually helped me make them real.

My dad. A man who made wine racks out of shipping crates and trivets from corks—mirror stands and stepping stools from planks of wood that his father used for something else. Odds and ends he saw something else in. Things my dad kept in the attic somehow ended up as things we couldn't live without. Not only was the work beautiful, the story behind the work was beautiful too. My sisters and I were the lucky recipients of these multi-faceted things.

One day I'm driving down the road and it's near Father's Day. I'm listening to NPR and they're doing some sort of special program about fathers (go figure) and they're digging up all sorts of essays, poetry, and songs. They wrap it up with a song by Catie Curtis—someone I'd never heard of and of course I didn't listen to the intro very closely because I didn't know that what's coming was going to knock my socks off.

I listen and wish I was as good a writer. I listen and can sooooo relate. I spent the next week trying to find a copy of the song (NPR listeners know how obscure they can be) and had success at last.

This is long before the Internet. Long ago and in another time where I wasn't able to Google the title and get the lyrics.

The song is called

"My Dad's Yard" and for all of you lucky enough to know what it means I encourage you to listen to it with your dad. What I wouldn't give to do just that right now...

It's got an old chair that's got no seat

Cracked snowshoes and warped wooden skis

Hardcover books, pages all turned brown

Dad has a reason for everything he keeps around.

So if you need something when times get hard

You can probably find it in my dad's yard

And if you need hope, if you're coming apart

You can surely find it in my dad's heart.

You never really know just what might be in store

If you go in the barn and open the boxes on the second floor

'Cause underneath the paper crumpled up in balls

You might find a gem or you might find nothing at all

And that's the fun of it, it's that mystery,

And all these things burying other people's history;

You can look at this stuff and wonder where it's been

Or you can pick it up and you can use it again.

So if you need something when times get hard

You can probably find it in my dad's yard.

And if you need hope, if you're coming apart

You can surely find it in my dad's heart.

He can see the beauty beneath the dust and the grime,

He can see potential where the rest of us are blind

He will polish the grey until it shines clear blue

And if you know my dad, well, he won't give up on you.

So if you need something when times get hard

You can probably find it in my dad's yard

And if you need love, if you're coming apart

You can surely find it in my dad's heart.

Happy Father's Day to all. And Dad, I think of you every single day.

Email Catherine at

cminolli@pageone-inc.com

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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Castle Creek
09 - 26 - 18
06:46
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