My parents are coming out to visit soon. Every time my dad comes to town, he likes me to have a list of projects for him to tackle. Anything from a squeaky door to installing a new fuse box makes him happy.
He's always been the mechanical one in our family.
My childhood is filled with memories of my dad fixing, building, and installing. My dad always seemed to do everything right.
Until one Christmas.
Christmas is a big deal in my family. We decorate the day after Thanksgiving and go all out. Ornaments, tinsel, and lights galore. Nativity scenes, candles shaped like trees, garland, and one very special brass-plated candle holder with cherubic angels flying over the top of the flames, ringing little bells as they go.
You know the piece. You light four skinny little candles and heat causes the angels to fly. The only drawback to it is that to store it, you have to break it down into small pieces.
Some assembly required.
No problem. We have my dad.
This particular Christmas, he sets to work assembling the flying-angels-who-ring-bells-over-candles doo-hickey. My sister and I watch. We've volunteered our services for this project and been turned down. Soundly.
My dad has designed and built houses, remodeled bathrooms, breathed life into dying appliances. He does not need help assembling a paltry Christmas decoration.
We begin offering our opinions. "That's not right, Dad. The angels aren't facing the right way."
He becomes irritable. We offer one opinion too many and he snaps out his famous last words:
"Don't tell me what to do. I'm the mechanical one in the family, remember?"
We remember. We are silenced. We watch as he installs the last brass cherub and lights the candles.
The angels hover in suspended silence for a moment as the flames grow. Then, it happens.
The flames create wind. The wind pushes the angels. The angels fly serenely in a cirle. The bells tinkle.
It is a rare and amazing thing to see four little angels all flying butt-first.
My dad has never lived it down.