Believe it or not I remember building a fence with my bare hands. It is actually one of my earliest memories of my father. I was extremely young in the memory; I could not have been more than five or six. I remember being too short to see properly out of the windows in the barn where we cut the long fragrant pieces of pine wood into the right size pieces for the job. I remember really wanting to help, but not being able to do so much because I was still such a small boy and that it was a bit frustrating! I also remember the sound of the buzz saw as it sliced through the wood, and the spray of sawdust in the air, and the rich pine aroma that seemed to burst into my nostrils after every swift stroke my father made through the two by fours.
Building a fence with my father was such a wonderful and memorable bonding experience. After all of the pieces of wood had been cut into the proper size pieces, we gathered them up and brought them outside a bit at a time. The fence we were building was going to divide my mother’s flower garden from my father’s vegetable garden. (My father explained to me when I was older that we were building a fence because my mother was extremely fussy about her garden and my father was sick of hearing her complain about his vegetables crowding her flowers). The fence was about four feet high, and about ten feet long. So it was not a very hard project, we were simply building a fence right in the middle of the garden.
I remember that we started by taking the largest pieces of wood that my father had and pounding them into the ground. He let me play with the ones that he had not got to yet, and I pretended I was the supervisor and waved it around and suggested different things for him to do. My father was a very patient man. I remember that he had some difficulty getting one of the posts to go into the ground as far as he wanted it to. At one point, he looked at me and asked me to run into the house and get him some lemonade. I still remember how he looked, so strong and in control. I ran as fast as I could to the house and got him the biggest glass that I could handle without spilling and then walked it back triumphantly. I knew I was ‘helping’ somehow.
When I got back, he had already got the last post just where he wanted it. He smiled at me and I handed him his tall frosty cold drink. Then he sat down on the grass and grabbed me up and sat me down on his lap and held me close, and said ‘Thanks, my boy!’ I will never forget that memory of building a fence with my father as long as I live. I felt so appreciated and loved. Today I really believe that my father is the best dad in the world, and this memory shows me that he always has been.