Daddy Made Do

Daddy made do with his one arm.

He’d have Momma sew buttons and buttonholes on Aubrey’s and my cloth diapers so he could help her when the babies Latham needed to be changed.

He’d turn a five-gallon bucket upside down to use as a makeshift saw horse so he could put his left foot on a two-by-four and cut it to length with a hand saw in his right hand.

He’d start a ten-penny nail with his bare hand, pushing it far enough into the wooden skeleton of a shed he was building from the ground up so he could then pound it in using only a couple swings of the hammer.

He’d lean far over onto the kitchen table to hold a check down with the nub of his left arm so he could scrawl his crudely-written signature.

One of his most memorable “make-do’s,” though, involved push lawn mowers.

You see, to supplement his income from Gulf States he cut grass at the homes of some of the folks in Wesleyan Hills, at the big Baptist church beside the caution light in downtown Maplesville, and at the big cemetery across Highway 22 from Higginbotham’s.

Before he headed out to cut grass, he’d have to load his mower into the trunk of our red 1964 Ford Fairlane 500.
Sure, when Aubrey and I were old enough, we’d help him load up. Of course by then, we were putting two mowers in the trunk because one of us was going to be behind the second one.

Before then…or on days my brother and I were at school…he’d have to lift the mower into the trunk by himself.

Thus, the “mower make-do.”

He’d drill holes into both sides of the front and rear of the body of the mower.

Then he’d use four bolts, one in each hole, to secure two lengths of quarter-inch galvanized chain that he’d cross diagonally atop the motor housing.

He’d be sure the chains were long enough to have sufficient slack to allow him to put his hand under the crossed chains.

He’d then be able to pick up that heavy mower with his one arm and lift it into and out of the trunk…with absolute ease.

You know what? I started this post by saying Daddy made do with his one arm.

That’s just not true.

Daddy created ingenious solutions with his mind…and his one arm.

Steve Latham – June 24, 2017

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