The Old Wheelbarrow

When I was little, age three or four, I loved spending time at my grandfather’s house in Germany. There was a large yard in the country and a house that seemed ancient. There was also an old barn-like shed with a dirt floor where my grandfather parked his two motorcycles with sidecars. The shed had tools on the walls and on the workbench, and the tools, covered here and there with spider webs, were all rusty and looked as ancient as the middle ages.

Just like my grandfather accumulated “old” stuff, so did I over the years. One such artifact was my wheelbarrow. When we moved last year I abandoned the rusty and splintered wheelbarrow at the old house.

I bought that wheelbarrow over 30 years ago. At the time I used it for construction work in 1981 through 1983. All the mortar I used to lay stem walls (the foundation blocks of houses) was mixed in this wheelbarrow. John Stringer did most of the mixing, while I just layed the block.

In later years the wheelbarrow was instrumental in working the yard at the Foxfire house in Fallbrook, for hauling ice-plant clippings, moving dirt and rocks, building the play house – and most importantly, running around the yard with Chelsea and Devin, 4 and 2 years old, sitting in the wheelbarrow, whooping, squealing and frolicking as I purposely ran it over bumps.

Now I myself am approaching grandfather age, with many peers already grandfathers, and me not, thank goodness. I find myself thinking about things like old tools that have been with me most of my life, useless but full of emotional value, books, and lots of other junk.

It was hard to leave that trusty old reminder of long-gone years of adventure and work behind, now rusted, handles brittle and splintered from many years in sun and rain.

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