The Carpenter Who brought Candy
“During the summer I turned 10, my neighbours next door renovated their house. There were contractors, plumbers, painters and one carpenter who came by everyday.
I didn’t like the noise: lots of hammering and sawing. But nothing was louder than what was going on inside my house. My parents didn’t seem to notice the hammering since they made enough noise of their own.
My only reprieve was the sunroom at the front of our home on Birch Avenue. It was made out of wood and was not very sturdy by that point with its creaky floor and peeled paint. But my FATHER would never fix it up. He thought that would be a waste of money.
I loved that little room more than I can say. With the windows opened, the fresh northern air whipped through from end to end and made my brain soar. I loved to read and write poems in there.
The carpenter would arrive at 7:30 every morning. I know this because I used to watch him from my bedroom window. I looked forward to seeing him. He had a gentle face. When he smiled, the world seemed a much better place. I liked him even before the candy. He was an old fellow, older than my FATHER but not as old as my Grandpa.
When he showed up, I would go and sit in the sunroom and watch him work. Sometimes I wish my parents had had another child. Then I would have had a buddy to escape with there. But they didn’t even love each other. So I knew that was never going to happen.
The carpenter always waved to me and I waved back. It was a fun little routine we had. I would sometimes bring him an extra chocolate chip cookie that my Mother baked if I got to it before my FATHER did. He would be so gracious and sweet. He’d call me Cheer because he said I brought an extra bit of cheer to his day. I had never heard that word before but it made me feel happy inside.
So I decided to find a name for him. Boss was too strong. Sir was too proper. Then one day someone said something that got me thinking.
“Wood? He’s bringing it by tomorrow.”
“Wood He…Woody!” I loved that. I think Woody did too. So we were Woody and Cheer for two whole months.
He started bringing this chocolately toffee with him each day. His wife would make it fresh for him. Since his kids had long since left home, he needed to share it with someone, he’d say. I looooved it! I know you’re not supposed to accept candy from strangers but my FATHER knew him and my Mother would chat with the workers and bring them lemonade on those days my FATHER was not around. So I figured he was a friend.
As the summer was winding down, the hammering slowed to a stop. But my parents did not. They just got louder and louder. It pierced my ears and I wished, how I wished, the hammering would start again.
At the end of August, my FATHER moved out. Woody was just finishing up when he saw the U-Haul truck. He came over to me as I stood staring at the truck as it backed out of the driveway. I didn’t cry because I didn’t know how I felt.
Woody somehow did. All he had to do was hand me a piece of toffee with his warm smile and that made everything better.
Now, all these many years later, I realized something about Woody. With every piece of toffee, every kind word, he was building something inside of me: hope, happiness, bravery, feelings I had never realized I needed until he had moved on to some other job.
And so, though I am no longer young, I am incredibly grateful for the surprise friendship of my Dear Woody… and I will cherish that tasty toffee forever.”
Clip art from Clker.com
peekiequeen Fiction, copyright Saturday, June 14, 2014
Writing challenge: from 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto