The Mother (and Father) of Invention

My parents where born at a time when you made stuff. And if something looks like it can be used later, put it aside for some future use.

by Shari Allison • More.com Member { View Profile }

“It works!” These words are usually prefaced by “it may not look good but” in my family. My parents where born at a time when you made stuff. You didn’t go to some super store to look for a prepackaged idea so that after following the directions you got the picture on the front of the box.

My parents have always kept things. All kinds of things. If it looks like something that can be used later, it is put aside for some unforeseen future use.

My 75-year-old dad was engaged in charity work and tried to place a full sheet of plywood on a wall. This fact alone terrified me, but if my pop wants to re-roof the house at 70, there is no stopping him. I am not made from his ilk. Turns out dad lost his hold on the board, and it fell, smashing his right toe.

Does he call 911? Does he go to the hospital? Does he call my mom to come get him to take him to the doctors? The answers are no, no, and not yet. First he has to finish the job because the charity group needs it done, and someone else might “mess things up.” When he does finally call my mom and they go to the hospital, the x-rays show his big toe is shattered. Worst the doctor has ever seen tisk, tisk. They give him a temp cast while they drain it and send him home.

Now my pop has a sore right shoulder, perhaps from doing things men a quarter of his age complain about. So using the crutches they gave him isn’t going to work. Ma and Pa go out to their garage/workshop and look around at some of the things they have kept.

When I was in my 20s and traveling for work, my mom bought me a luggage carrier. It was made of metal and had two wheels on it. I could strap my suitcases on it and not have to carry them. Then the handy suitcases with the large attached wheels came out and somehow that old carrier ended up 500 miles north of me in my parent’s workshop. I am guessing it has been 10 to 15 years since the last time anyone has laid eyes on it.

I call my mom one Tuesday night to check on pop’s progress. “I can’t talk right now; your dad and I are making a walker for him,” my mom says. Three days later I get an email with a picture of my dad on his newly constructed gizmo. In mom’s email message, she reminds me about my old suitcase carrier and tells me they only had to buy two wheels and two wheel caps for $14. The invention looks like a funky scooter powered by dad’s left leg. I am grateful that the final product is self propelled because I know my dad has plenty of motor stuff in that workshop of his, and I dread the thought of what a motor scooter could inflict on his already injured person.

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