Friday, December 10, 2010

Crossing T's, Words From the Blacksmith's Wife

I knew it would be inevitable that I would find my way out into the garage, black under my finger nails and my hand cracking open across the knuckles~ chapped. Don't feel sorry for me, that's how I am, always have been, probably always will be. Zach would let me sit inside, warm and cozy, sipping tea, but I'm too nosy, to strong headed to not go see what's going on with all the clanging and grinding and pounding. (For a quiet guy, Zach sure makes a lot of noise.)
And then I want to "help". Zach takes a deep breath, I picture him patting me on the head. "Run along little girl and play with your dolls...pat, pat" But he doesn't, and he let's me "help". We usually start out with me insisting that "this time" I can hammer right along with him, whip those bottle openers out no problemo! You have to be tough to be a blacksmith, and while I think I'm tough, blacksmithing always seems to put me in my place. I'm like our little Bantam Rooster, he has no idea he's half the size of the other chickens. I can hammer, you see, but my arm tires out and I loose control of where the hammer strikes. It amazes me that something as strong as steel, something that seems so indestructible, I can still manage to ruin. "pat, pat". And, I'm scared of the grinder! Ok, there I said it, I'm scared of it! It's a flesh grabber, and it shoots a shower of sharp, flaming sparks of metal at you. So while you're making sure your leg's not catching on fire, you have to concentrate on not getting your skin ripped off.  I've seen what it does to Zach's hands, and he has skin like a hide resembling the scales of a prehistoric dinosaur. But he does have a pretty mean right arm, his hammer arm, that I'm rather fond of. (He'll be embarrassed when he reads this ~he he...)

Lately, I've been helping Zach with non-forge work. For example, he makes an anchor necklace for a company in New York and it has a crossed "T". I helped him measure, mark, punch and drill the hole that the little "T" sits on. The problem with non-forge work in the winter, is that without the 2000 degree forge running it's cold. Cold, cold, cold! And steel is cold. (hence the phrase "cold as steel") So my fingers go numb and I have to bend them now and again so they don't stop working, and you can't wear gloves, so my skin cracks open and bleeds, thank you very much. I watch as one by one, the little "T"s get fitted over the other half, and it seems like the pile will never go down.
Then I start to think about all the hours of hammer work that Zach has put into them, pounding the hot steel. And I look around the garage at all the tools he's made, and the hundreds of bottle openers and other works of art that he's sent out just this season, and I start to think that maybe the marking and the punching and the drilling really aren't so bad and I start to enjoy the time we're together in the garage, and the little time I'm saving so we can be together later.
Then, after a while, Zach will say in his gentle voice, not much louder than the drill, "last one!" That's my cue. I can run inside, run my hands under warm water, blow the black out of my nose, and cozy up with a cup of decaf. I bring him one too, extra sugar. (At least my coffee is stronger than his...wink!)


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Don't you hate those black nose blowings?!
Patti (A blacksmith's wife too)

Camille said...


Jennifer Sartell said...

Patti I hear you! And it gets in the corners of my eyes too even though I wear safety glasses.

Anonymous said...

I think this is just one of the many reasons why you are a wonderful wife!


Jennifer Sartell said...

Awe Stacey, you're so sweet.

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