Help from Mr. Fix-It

“Dad can fix anything” has long been the slogan at our house. And not just on Father’s Day.

Of course, I remember how handy my husband was even before we had children as he did projects like putting together a crib or a stroller. It was easy for him to check out something that didn’t work or was just plain broken, figure out what it needed, and just do it. Not always immediately, of course, but he did what he could.

Duct tape came into play from time to time, as in the time our then-first grade boy was to take his favorite story book to school to read to his class. By then the hard-cover book was very well loved, starting to look shabby because it had been read so many times. And sure enough, just as he was practicing reading it aloud before taking it to school the next day, the front cover of the book fell off in the boy’s hands.

“Da-a-a-d!” came the cry from the very sad young reader. “Now what am I supposed to do?”

Out came the duct tape, Dad applied a strip of it holding the spine and the front cover together, and the first grader smiled through his tears. Now he could safely take the book to school. Crisis averted, thanks to Dad.

That approach continued through bicycles and ball gloves, swing sets and sand boxes. Dad just somehow knew how things worked and what to do if they didn’t. He knew about cars, too, which came in handy during the years of maintaining high school and college cars. He is still on call in that department, of course, but these days it’s not so much hands on as it was.

Of course, I don’t know if my husband is any more handy than other husbands, but I do know it’s always nice to have someone with his skills even if there are times I’m irritated at his pace and his priorities.

I don’t know if being handy comes from attitude or ability, though. I had that debate with my sisters-in-law at our family reunion several years ago, and we pretty much agreed that attitude had carried all of the brothers a long way in the handy department. It was something they picked up from their dad, and along the way they also picked up good skills to go with that attitude.

My dad has many stellar qualities, but handy is not among them and never was. I guess I didn’t understand that he wasn’t good at fixing things till I was around my husband and his family, folks who I’ve come to learn would tackle just about anything.

The down side of having a handy man in residence? Mostly it’s that it’s way too easy to step back and say, “I need help here!!” instead of pitching in to see what I can do on my own to fix something.