cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Today’s ds106 Daily Create was “Take a photo of a personal object in an unusual location” — and I started the day rummaging for objects of my Dad I have around here.

This is a tooned photo of the old wooden level that was in his garage in Florida. I brought it home after we cleaned out the house when Mom passed in 2011. My hammock here in Strawberry, which usually exists to catch debris from the juniper trees, reminds me of one of my earliest memories with Dad, not that I remember myself but have seen it many times in the old family (silent) 8mm videos. In the late 1980s I worked briefly at a camera shop and had the home movies converted to VHS, and later while I worked at Maricopa, I used an analog to digital converted to make a few clips.

This 13 seconds scene in the green hammock is at the house on Ridgewood Avenue (the home I do not remember since we moved when i was 2) holding me as an infant. His joyous smile in that silent film is huge, where you can see him mouth “Say Cheese”. I cannot quite make out what he said before that. But it’s that smile of his that makes me smile now.

Twelve years ago was last I got to wish my Dad happy Father’s Day directly to him. In his honor I organized my tool shed, but stopped short of washing the truck.

Some things to make me remember Dad.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

My own hammock. I ought to use it more.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

That old wooden level. You do not find tools made like this anymore. What could be more symbol of the reliability, trust, perseverance of my Dad, then a level?

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Dad was not a gas man on the grill, he was all charcoal. He was always trying some new method- a metal chimney I recall, but the one that sticks out in my mind is that rather than using bellows to blow air on the coals, he had a dedicated hair dryer. That was my Dad, out there blow drying the barbecue. Funny as it was… it worked.

Then there was the time he was grilling a steak for visiting company. I was out there watching. As he flipped it, the steak slipped off and fell on the grass. He just grabbed it, tossed on back on the grill, turned to me and said, “that’s special seasoning”.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

I have a few of his tools in my shed, I thought I had more. But this worn screw driver is definitely a Dad Artifact. They don’t make wooden handle tools anymore do they? Look how worn this one is– I remember the sheath that always slipped down. It’s been held a lot. That’s a sign and story of time the acrylic handles never tell. I recall him using it to pry open paint cans, And that’s how I use it too.

The loss of parents is something that never really heals completely. But it would be more of a loss if I did not have all these memories and stories. I hold these artifacts dear as all of them. In some sense they are just objects, and pretty worn ones, but they are the gateway to much more.

Cherish Dads and their artifacts.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Thanks, Alan! Once again you have reminded me of many dad memories. I was in my garden pulling weeds and looking at the blue sky knowing that dad was watching and proud of my lawn without yellow headed weeds! It was a strange father’s day without our dad but I know how much he loved us and was proud of what we did. He might not have said it enough but I always felt it.

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