Bleak and weathered in the back of an old broken-spined ‘65 chevy truck, pressing closely to the cab, it was just an old gray tool box.

Years of hauling saws, axes, hammers and assorted hand tools.Handmade by my daddy of wood with a big metal hasp in the center and a fat rusty lock stabbed in a metal ring. Wooden edges timeworn round and jagged, paint blistered and fading. gasoline and oil saturated the insides and wafted onto the prostrate truck bed on hot motionless days.

As a child the old chest was a crow’s nest for a German Shepherd dog and me. Somewhere is a snapshot of my best friend and me standing atop its lid, bb guns in hand on a cold February evening.

The sound of the oversize rectangle of a lid thudding down to secure the box is as familiar to me as my son’s voices. The touch of my daddy’s arm on my back after a long day of splitting firewood might just as well have been yesterday rather than, well, who knows how long. Steel wedges jangled in the innards of the old gray chest as we bounced along rough pasture trails towards home.

I imagine daddy in his 40’s building that old truck tool box in a barn long defunct, for a truck long corroded away. It comforts me to think he was once young and strong and made things that lasted until i came along.

Funny how a dull old wooden box gone some 20 years reclaims memories of a time that persists only in photos akin to the one of my friend and me.

It was just an old gray tool box handmade by daddy you see.

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