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“It might come in handy one day” was my father’s motto. A child of the Depression, he abhorred wastefulness of every sort. One of his favorite recreations was to go to a farm auction on a Saturday and buy the boxes of junk that sell at the end for a quarter or fifty cents, then root through them at home to see what kind of useful tidbits could be uncovered. Our barn and basement were troves of odd and interesting things, picked up somewhere, salvaged from someone else’s castoff. He routinely brought home discarded dynamite wire after a blast at the quarry, and I can’t enumerate how many projects I’ve done that were held together by those brightly-colored strands.

I have inherited, to some extent, his fondness for accumulating the potentially practical. I can’t pass a lost bolt in the road without picking it up. So when I was commissioned to build a screen for our gas meter a while back, I went to my dad’s playbook: scrap lumber, leftover paint, and a piece of latticework inherited from the previous owner that had been leaning against the shed for at least eight years.

Meter screen

Tipping my metaphorical hat to my dad on this Father’s Day, 2018.