Wednesday, July 17, 2019

He Worked Hod For A Living

"I put a brick in your garden," Dave said.

I wasn't sure what to do with this information, but he appeared to be waiting for a response.

"Did you."

He did. There was an air of expectancy. I looked up. Dave is a brick guy, after all, and has a certain personal aesthetic.

"Well, I'm sure it's in just the right spot."

"You should go look for it. It's hidden," he said. There were a number of things I could have been doing at the moment. I wasn't doing them, but I still wasn't up for finding a brick in a garden spanning two city lots.

"Hidden in plain sight," he wheedled.

We settled for my vowing to keep an eye out for it in the course of my usual wanderings. And sure enough, a week later, I found his brick. In plain sight. It said "HIDDEN." Pretty long wait for a punchline payoff, but hey.

A few months later I found another brick. This one said "E J JEFFERY 1871." It gave me a sense of foreboding. One HIDDEN brick is one thing. You can see the point of that. Two special bricks, and we're getting perilously close to having a collection. I wasn't sure we needed a brick collection. Or if there was such a thing.

My dad used to say that no matter how obscure an item seemed to be, you would discover that there is a whole society devoted to it, with a membership roster, and collections of it all over the world, an associated magazine ("Scurvy Scraper Monthly"), and a thriving exchange market. And he didn't know nothing about no internet.

I looked up E J JEFFERY 1871 and instantly found out Mr. Jeffery owned a brick yard in Portland, Oregon and that he supplied brick for the courthouse and they were all stamped 1872. Not only that, but his brick yard had been located on my old mail route. Not a trace of it remains, but even now a building can be demolished and a new one erected and two weeks later you can't remember what the old one looked like even if you walked by it every day. Could it be Dave's new brick was valuable? That the famous brickmaker who built the courthouse had a rare, earlier model? It didn't take too many more clicks to discover that Dad's observation held true. There are brick collectors.

[shudder]

Now, a brick collection can be a fine thing, if it is assembled into a useful and attractive wall. Dave had accomplished that very thing twenty years ago. It's possible he doesn't get the credit from the neighbors he should have. He spent most of the summer hand-grading the perimeter of the yard, which involved removing obstinate roots, sieving out bucket after bucket of cobble from the old Ice Age Floods, forming and leveling a footing, pouring it in sections as time and the demands of paying work dictated, fashioning forms for arches, removing the footing forms, estimating and ordering block and mortar supplies, setting up work stations and stocking planks, and finally he assembled a crack team of bricklayers and made 5,000 sandwiches and whammo, all in one day 300 feet of wall went up around our yard. "Your friends sure do get a lot done in a hurry," one neighbor observed, and I, being familiar with the man, could see the whole thought process written on his madly blinking face: whereas I dug and scraped and sweated and did all this and hauled all that all summer long and all they had to do was show up, butter some bricks, stick them on top of each other, and drink beer all night, but I believe his actual words were "Yes Ma'am."

Anyway, that's a fine brick collection.

I checked. Dave's bricks aren't valuable and he hasn't accumulated any more of them. We're holding steady at Two. I think we've dodged the collection bullet.

We, personally, are holding steady at 36. Happy Anniversary, Dave!

49 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary, you two!

    As collections go, he could do a lot worse than bricks. Bricks at least can be kept outside. If he decided to collect Madame Alexander dolls, Hummel figurines, or Nascar items -- or, worse yet, all of the above -- that would be clutter. And yes, I've been to tag sales where they had all those collections AND more. Blergh!

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    1. Then there's that other thing where you get a collection because you had one thing and everyone thought that was your thing, so they give you...owls...or pigs...or something for the rest of your life.

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    2. I had a friend who told everyone that she collected blue ceramic bunnies because she knew they were pretty rare so she wouldn't be inundated with them for the rest of her life. I fooled her. I bought a wonderful red pottery bunny, about life sized, at a garden shop. I then primed it with white paint, four layers, then drew designs on it with blue ink. It became a blue bunny.

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    3. Then of course there's Blue Bunny ice cream. I know just where I'd keep my collection.

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  2. I think I'll start a collection. It shall be...paintings of scissors. So far I have one.

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  3. I've never thought abut bricks before. But they're something that can outlast us, so they're something to think about.

    The pictures are amazing and the garden looks gorgeous, bricks and all.

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    1. Bricks are supposed to be the thing the wolf can't blow down, right? Or is it Grandma?

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    2. Grandma probably can't blow down bricks, either.

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  4. If you ever count 3, look out. That is a collection.
    This wall is fabulous.

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    1. Dave says thanks! I assume. He's in the bathroom.

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  5. That is a marvellous castle-wall and it and the plants complement each other well. The Hidden brick is a hoot!

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    1. So here's a thing: we were walking down the street the other day and a mere two blocks away we found ANOTHER "HIDDEN" brick under someone's hedge.

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    2. So now I'm confused - didn't Dave put your Hidden brick in place?? If not, you have a serial Hidden brick planter in your midst . . .

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    3. And Happy Anniversary, by the way - all the best!

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    4. HIDDEN is the family name of a brickyard owner who established his first brickyard in 1871 or thereabouts in Vancouver, Washington, just across the river. He manufactured many hundreds of thousands of HIDDEN bricks. Apparently the brickyard is still in operation. Dave and I might have to make a pilgrimage.

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    5. Ah, now I see. I thought the bricks were along the lines of the painted pebbles people are hiding everywhere these days.

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  6. That last picture makes me think that Dave should build a small aqueduct through your gardens. You don't see a lot of hods anymore, do you?

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  7. I love bricks. My small collection is in the house but the bigger one is outside around a couple of garden beds. They sunk so when we move, I'm going to have dig them up before I can box 'em up. This time around, I won't label the box "BRICKS." Last time I did that, the guys helping us move asked if the labeling was correct. When I enthusiastically smiled and nodded Jim almost got into his car and drove home instead of carrying that box.

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    1. I don't want anyone to blow out their back so I'm going with HEAVY.

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  8. Happy 36th!
    And did Dave plant that other "Hidden" brick down the street? Does he have a "hidden" collection of them?

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    1. No! See earlier comment about the HIDDEN bricks. I think a lot of people get a kick out of them and want to hide them when they find them. They're not unusual.

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  9. Your father was very right.
    I am super impressed at Dave's wall. And remember one my father laboured over for months. We had a sudden gust of wind and down it went. Flat. Where it stayed for a very long time.
    Happy anniversary. You are certainly collecting the years.

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    1. Yes'm! We collected a good seven before we were married too, so we're at about 43.

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  10. Wonderful job Dave! And Happy Anniversary to you both!

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  11. Sad to say, we have a collection of collections: books, CDs, ad art, Rookwood vases, art marbles, Yixing teapots, stone spheres, Asian art toys, etc. None, however, holds as much fascination as my childhood collection of linoleum samples. My neighbor’s castoffs were my parents’ nightmare.

    And Happy Anniversary! I’ll toss back an IPA or two in your honor. ♥️

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    1. Do you still have the linoleum samples????? I was not so suave. I had a stuffed animal collection (I can still name all 46, I think, although all but six are gone) but nothing more, ah, specialized.

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  12. Well, it's probably just as well the traditional gift for #36 is bone china, not brick. Of course, instead of a collection, you could start a new tradition...

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  13. Happy 36th, Dave and Murr. Your collection of years definitely suits you.

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    1. And your flowers and wall are gorgeous.

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    2. We're going to try to keep wearing them years well!

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  14. You definitely dodged a bullet. Three of anything is a collection. Dave's wall is a work of art. Can I hire him when I win the lottery and build my own house? Love your garden.

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    1. I will send him right over. He'll be needing beer.

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  15. That wall is fantastic!
    And your father was absolutely right. We - and by we I mostly mean HE - have a collection of produce stickers. There is indeed a group, it turns out. *We* have a thousand or so other collections - but I'll just leave it at the produce stickers for the purposes of this comment.

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    1. Oy. I remember when I was in fifth grade people collected Chiquita banana stickers on their notebooks.

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  16. I collect animal skulls. No one adds to my collection for some reason. The bowling ball collection in the gardens is another story. Happiest of anniversaries to a couple made for each other.

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    1. My friend has bowling balls in her garden too!

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  17. Happy Anniversary! Sure doesn't seem like 36 years ago that we attended your wedding. Time flies. <3

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    1. Oh dear, I can't help myself.
      Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
      (Groucho Marx)

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    2. As it happens, one of Dave's favorite aphorisms!

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