26 October 2009

Hook and Eye

Not very many people use hook and eye latches anymore. They're a bit outdated, I suppose. But there are two in my mom and dad's house, and I love them.

Lest you think I have some strange attachment to bits of metal, let me tell you the story of how they came to be on the doors of the two bathrooms in my childhood home, and then you will know why I love them.

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My mom and dad hosted my wedding reception in their backyard. It was a gorgeous June day. Early that morning, the preparations began, with family, friends and workers carting tables and chairs, spreading linens, and readying the BBQ. It was a lively, crowded scene.

Two of our guests, our friends Margaret and Lola, arrived to dress, having driven up early in the morning in more comfortable clothes. Both were in the category of our "older" guests, and because of this, I was especially concerned about their comfort. They were also extremely honored guests; they have both had a profound, wonderful impact on our lives, so I wanted them to both enjoy themselves and feel well treated.

The old, quirky house of my childhood was not built with locks on the bathroom doors. Somehow, this was never a big deal when I was growing up. We all got fairly used to hollering or knocking to establish vacancy. I never recall, even in my intense teen girl years, caring much that the bathrooms did not lock.

But on the day of my wedding, my two dear, older Austrian friends did care; the prospect of having someone walk in on them was, I am sure, horrifying.

The beautiful part of this story, at least from a bride's perspective, is that most of it occurred without my knowing anything about it.

I was at the house, getting dressed, with my sister and other bridesmaids. I was, as was natural, a bit self-absorbed. I had no idea that Margaret and Lola were having "dressing room issues."

But I do remember seeing my dad, all decked out in his classy tuxedo, walking out to his studio, rumaging around, returning with tools. There, amid the flurry of activity, the people running to and fro, guests in the way on the deck, my dapper dad calmly found two hook and eye sets, got the right tools, went into the house and made our bathrooms lock-able. For Margaret and Lola. Before I even knew they were having a minor tizzy about the lock-less bathrooms.

Such a small, simple thing. But on a day when you are hosting 260 people in your back yard, when you've got a million details to see to, I think it takes a special kind of grace to screw hook and eye assemblies into place, especially to do it calmly. He took care of my friends; I heard about it later. But now, whenever I'm at their house and in one of those bathrooms, the hook and eye latch reminds me of my wedding day, my good friends, my lovely father, and the care he and my mother took that day to make everything perfect.

Saturday was Dad's birthday. This post was supposed to have been written and posted that day. As with everything else in my life, it didn't get done until a bit too late. So two days later, here it is, straight from my heart and my memory, to my dad on his birthday. Happy Birthday Dad, and thank you so much for the hook and eyes.

Love, Monica



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4 comments:

Viv said...

What a beautiful post! I hope your dad had a very happy birthday.

nicole said...

did you get married when you were 14?

Monica said...

Well, Nicole, on some days, it sure feels like it...

Larry said...

As I have said, "Never throw anything away, you can never tell...." Thanks for the story and the beautiful way you remembered it. It was a very happy birthday indeed.

PS: Rick never paid me for the hooks. I think it comes to about $2.65. I'll take a check.

Love, Dad