Wednesday, April 21, 2010

father's day in april

let's take a moment to talk about my dad. like my entire family, my dad is an artist-in-the-closet. both of my parents have strong streaks of creativity hiding behind their practicality that drives their projects. my mother used to bring 'shirt tree' hangers laden with be-ribbonned and silk flowered clips to sell in the waiting room when she'd take us to the dentist, then later 'fell' into business making a full line of tapestry tote bags and accessories 'accidentally' while making a pillow for my dad's car. there was always a glue gun within her reach as i grew up.

my dad's style is very 'now', very 'green' though he's always done it, and it always involves recombining old parts of things to create something new and totally over-the-top grand. most often i would catch him in action when i myself had a project i needed help with. in fourth grade i was to build a fictional musical instrument. guess who spent his evening with me in the garage duct taping pvc pipes and joints together and helping me tie on horns, kazoo and the like until the 'instrument' was taller than my nine year old self?

he really shines in the automotive-themed creation, as cars are his passion. oh, if only i had pictures of the 1957 'wheelbarrow mobile' he built for racing.

the email below is a perfect example of his talents and a reassurance to me that he will never give up this insanity that has inspired so much of my life--most noticeably on halloween, when i throw open the closet doors and think, 'what can i work with here?'

"Hi All,

Here are some shots of the BBQ that Bro. Allan and I have been building.

Allan did all the welding and fabrication. I sandblasted, painted, and re-inforced the trailer. The wooden steering wheel to raise and lower the grille is off an old car out of the 1900's . Inge (Mary's step mom) had on the wall in her steak house, and gave it to Mary for me, probably 20+ years ago. I had it in my office at Reliance for quite a number of years. It is lamanated finger-joint maple. The aluminum angle around the outside edges of the trailer is from a salvage yard in Santa Rosa. The wood table on the front is a two foot square butcher block off of our old dishwasher top.

The nice rounded corner, fold-up work space at the rear is made of a trundle bed frame.

The frame-work around the fire bricks in the firebox and around the grille is also mostly steel bed frame.

The trailer was a 1947 Sears fold out camp trailer, all heavy steel. You can't see it too well from the photos, but there is a removable 30,000 X 2 burner cook stove mounted on the front of the trailer courtesy of part of a Costco year end bonus coupon (the rest of the coupon went for dog & cat food). With the butcher block in the forward position, there is just enough room for two very large chili pots, one of which Allan gave me for my birthday - I think he wants me to cook for him. The stove also has a flat-top grille for pancakes as they would slip through the BBQ grille holes. We have visions of an aluminum sunshade over the top, but that is still in the thinking stage. Most of the expanded metal work space over the heat buffer around the grille is from an old patio table from G-ma Donna's house. As you can tell, there is a lot of used stuff that makes up a big part of the project, but with a lot of elbow grease and paint, you cannot tell it from brand-new. We took it on a test drive a week ago, and it did not self destruct, so I guess it is ready for it's first hot dogs!

As of this AM, we have five dates to use the BBQ. not counting the inaugural hot dog test "Q". I am under pressure from Allan and others to get the "57 side fin aluminum trim installed - Talk about cool !!!!!! Next time you two get out here, we will throw some tofu burgers on and have a big ole' party. Wow, I see in the paper that it has been downright summer there the past few days--- must be pretty with all the blossoms.
Back to work,
Love Dad"

and then, the following day:

"Wait till you see the finishing touches.....................we had aluminum sheets cut that cover the grille portion and overlap each other. When not covering the grill for transit so that the dust from the charcoal does not blow out on the road, they double as a sun shade attached to the top bar and look like a set of wings -- film at 11.

jade can't wait to visit california again for the sole purpose of testing out this contraption, and the boss shook his head and said, "your dad is a true artist".



kim said...

Ready for a cook out at any time! Awesome. I love that part about throwing some tofu burgers on the grill.

Anonymous said...

Yup, they are known in these parts as the Geriatric Gentlemen Brother Bar B Que team of Guts and Allan. They will be at a picnic near you real soon. We think they will be wearing matching Domestic Diva approns.
Aunt/Sister Lizard