Sunday, June 14, 2009

Welding, Dad, the Holy Spirit and the Septic Tank

I've been thinking about welding alot. Steel is hard. Maybe as hard as a black heart. My dad, old cowboy that he was, used to say of my drug doing friends, "Bill, they're hard." I didn't know what he meant because I was young and knew it all at the time so didn't have to listen to a father. Only later did I begin to grasp the difference between 'closed hearted' or 'hard hearted' people and 'open hearted or soft hearted' people. Hard hearts are cowardly. It takes courage to be open hearted especially after being hurt. Dad and alot of his friends had been to war. Lost good friends and could have withdrawn from love. But he didn't. He didn't know the kids were on drugs but he knew that they had withdrawn from love.
Dad worked with steel. He was that ramrod straight sort of character. His friends called him 'fair'. He was gentleman too. I tried to emulate him before radical feminism and 'sharp' business practices of others and lack of police protection, 'clever' lawyers and self serving politicians caused me to modify my own modus operandi. The good men of my father's generation seem to have got mowed down by the 'new economics' (stealing) and post structualist philosophy (lying) and a few other minor changes to the world. I confess I cried in Clint Eastwood's Gran Turino because I saw my Dad and all the other good men I'd known growing up and realized how much I miss their honesty at times. Dad was also called a 'straight shooter'.
Now there's a weakness in the hull of my boat. Kind of like the weakness in the ship of state. Some good guys from Trinity are going to use welding torches to cut out the rusted area and join new steel to where the old is still good.
I think I got into chemistry first because I was fascinated how heat could cause matter to turn into gas. I was fascinated how something hard could become liquid and then disperse into the air. Obviously there's been many an opportunity to witness this in my own kitchen when cooking I forget and am reminded by the smoke.
Still here's welding. Hard material subject to heat, growing soft and healing and joining with good to form a solid repair.
It got me thinking how, given the sort of character I am, I only really start to pray earnestly when my feet are literally dangling in the cannibalistic soul destroying soup of Hell. Then quite miraculously my hard heart softens a little bit and I accept some help from above and soon I'm soaring on Eagle's wings with the Holy Spirit. And I'm a man of steel, indistructible, tough.
Maybe hell's a heavenly thing after all.
I sure am looking forward to this welding being done. I've been phoning my 91 year old dad daily giving him a play by play report of the carrying on. He's been laughing heartily at our mishaps and struggles to overcome inertia and bring order into the chaos of the physical world. He was always fixing things while mom was planting and pruning in the garden and us kids were more often than not breaking things and stealing carrots before they were full grown. Amazing the patience, tolerance and wisdom of those old people.
Today's task is removing the 25 year old full hardened septic tank from above where the welders will be working. The thought of adding heat to that little bit of hell itself gives new meaning to the idea of global warming. I suggested an axe to the floor but Tom has an idea that we'd better 'dispell the demons' more gingerly. We'd hate to crack pandora's box. The idea is to get it out whole and then see if NASA would be willing to ship it out to space on their next shuttle.

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