Twenty years ago, my wife and I stood in the drive way of our new house. It wasn't a brand new house. It was new to us. We were brand new homeowners of a slightly used house. A house that was built in the late nineteenth century. But this was not the history upon which we reflected. Instead we looked back up the driveway to our garage.
Our garage. The idea that we would own a separate building in which we could park a car was confounding to us. Not that we tended to park our car in that building. On that particular day we were looking at our "empty" garage, and noticed what was still inside. There was a kettle barbecue. There was a lawn mower. As we stood there gaping, we wrestled with this new reality that this previously young couple was now the owner of a barbecue and a lawn mower. Neither of these items belonged to us ironically. We used them both, sometimes with even more dedication and purpose than the car we might at times find room to park next to these items.
Over the past couple of decades, the contents of our garage have shifted a little. We have had a couple different iterations of lawn mower, and we have upgraded our kettle from a twenty-two inch grill to twenty-six. Along with that we have collected a wide array of power tools, expanding greatly on the lone cordless drill which we brought with us from our lives as apartment dwellers. A sander, a circular saw, a jigsaw, a reciprocating saw, who knew you needed so many different kinds of saws? Mostly to deal with the jumble of lumber that periodically stacks up before, during and after home improvement projects. In the rafters are boxes for appliances that have outlasted the appliances themselves. And a giant paper clip. A big red three foot long paper clip which made the trip from the old apartment to our garage. In case we get some ten foot long papers that need to be clipped together.
From time to time, we have parked cars other than our own in that garage. We have to move the punching bag that hangs down in the middle out of the way, but in a pinch, we can use our garage for its intended purpose. Or a Vespa, bought on a whim by my wife's brother. Or a child's workbench, ready to ship to the next junior woodworker since our son has moved on to owning power tools of his own. Our son has left car parts of various sizes and conditions, but has conscientiously returned to move them along to a better place.
Like his own garage.