Two months before my father died he gave me a gift- it would prove to be the last one before he died. I could see how important it was to him as he handed me a paper wrapped board and a letter. It was a drafting board that had been passed down from his father- a carpenter and builder, to my aunt - a commercial artist, to my dad- an engineer and furniture designer and now to me. The letter explained how important this drafting board was to my father- one last connection to his family, and as the artistic one in the family, he wanted me to be its next owner. Needless to say, it was accepted with many tears of happiness and of course sadness.
It is worn, rutted with deep lines from countless exacto blades. You can see penciled letters and numbers from someone's calculations. Rectangles are marked by ancient masking tape that held my aunt's mechanicals, and there are dozens of holes made by tacks. The board stopped being functional years ago- the deep cuts make that impossible. I have had the board propped up in my daughter's old room, waiting to figure out what function it would play in its next life.
On Saturday, DC was plagued with a huge electrical storm that knocked out power for days. Making lemons out of lemonade, I decided it would be the perfect time to rearrange my workspace. I had purchased a 6 foot utility table but it was not the same height as my butcher block table that I use for cutting. I was not sure what to do about that.
Yesterday, I had a eureka moment when I realized that my dad's board would fit perfectly in the space and would be just the height needed for a level surface. Now, when I walk into my studio I feel my dad's presence- his board is now a part of my story. I may cover it with a cutting surface from time to time, but most of the time I expect I will just let it lie there, quiet, weathered and level- much like my father.