Dad branched out in his 50s. Having successfully graduated from my 50s, I get it – life can start to look different. Is there more to life? Are we mere mortals? How do we live our earthly dreams before it’s too late?
Dad took on some interesting hobbies, one being cake decorating. Upon taking a community ed class, he would practice his new-found talent on family members. I don’t recall too many fancy cakes, however, after the initial decorating frenzy subsided.
Calligraphy, on the other hand, was an art form he could embrace. (I thought it was an interesting hobby for a guy with such bad handwriting. I too have bad handwriting, and did not share his passion, or his patience, to make those decorative characters.)
He loved to write in calligraph. Here are samples:
Perhaps the calligraphy led to one of his favorite side jobs, making hand-carved wooden signs. He carefully picked out the correct wood for his projects, carved the letters and varnished the signs, often in multi-shades, like the one he made for us:
Dad took a clowning class, and for many years he entertained people in his clown suit.
Another side gig caught his interest – grinding glass and repair crystal. He had been in contact with a gentleman in Florida with a flourishing repair business. With extra frequent flyer miles I acquired a round trip ticket for him to learn how to fix delicate crystal, china and glasswork.
This was a great business for our Dad; it brought out the artist in him. For many years he traveled from town to town, advertising his craft. People would come from miles around to have their treasures fixed. A magazine and newspapere featured his glass-grinding business.
Later in life he thanked me again for that free airplane ticket, saying “You helped me earn a living for many years”. I felt good, knowing that time I took the right dance steps in bringing him so much joy.
However, I didn’t anticipate one move on his part that would cause me personal heartache for years.