Vices and Virtues by Michael Healy

Vices and Virtues by Michael Healy

I was eight years old sixty one years ago.
And one of my pleasures, I really did know,
Was to work with my Grandfather, on his DIY.
He really knew how to make life fun,
Despite being injured in World War One.
He had a pleasant, large garden,
And I would help him mow the lawn
He also resprayed his pre-war car, a Morris Eight
Using a home vacuum cleaner, for power.
He was a skilled Carpenter with a magnificent box of tools.
One day he was working away in his garage,
Building a multi-bulb light, to hang in their lounge.
I helped him fasten the wood in a vice,
A magnificent wood and brass tool it was, worth a huge price.
He smiled at me and said ‘thanks’.

He went on, ‘one day all these tools will be yours’,
Seeing the vice, I thought ‘how nice’.
As life went on I drifted away,
Through the pull of School, and then University.
Though I still called round whenever I could.
Invariably he would be working with his wood.
He and my Grandmother had had four daughters,
Including my Mum, who was their eldest.
Their youngest daughter did not marry until he was old
And on his 90th birthday he sadly passed away.
The family gathered round to see what would be done,
At my age it all seemed rather sad and yet fun.
But in the will no mention there was of those tools and their box!
And so they all went to the youngest daughters new husband,
I was miffed, but knew nothing could be done.
As time went by I came to see,
The recipient was not at all like me.
He had the time to make full use of those fine old tools,
So they would continue their busy working life.
With me their use would have been a trifle,
Knowing this, that vice became a virtue.

One thought on “Vices and Virtues by Michael Healy

  1. Hello, Michael,

    Thanks for this endearing story about the relationship between the old generation and the new. It captures the thrill and excitement and the wonder of a young boy as he learns by example and participation how to use a craftsman’s tools. That is until life pulls him in another direction.
    I think the moral of this story is that the tools of a craftsman should be passed into hands that are capable of continuing to put them to use. Hands that are fit for purpose.

    Thanks, Michael,



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