Uphill Both Ways
Volume 9 - Boston 1956
I need to tell you something important here. When I allow my inner child to contact his dad, I see dad first and foremost as a machinist at a huge lathe in LT Payton’s machine shop, staring intently as he spins little cranks and watches the wire coils come off the slowly turning steel stock, smoke rising from the slow drip of cutting oil. Or I see him as Vulcan fearlessly suited up and using the fiery harsh fearsome power of creation to join heavy metal. Or I see him as an artist. To me he is not a paleontologist, only incidentally and sort of accidentally and laterly.
My real Dad has a shiny mike in his oily hand, wiping it on his pants, large leather gauntlets, goggles, shield, smelling of cutting oil with a distant look in his eyes as he looked at the beauty of whatever it was he did. Here’s an example of his attraction to metal and art. This is a “kris” in the style of the Indonesian original that I won’t bore you about. He made this in Hawaii when he was 26 years old. Look at it. He did that out of flat stainless steel, engraved the surface, made the tang, the hilt, carved the handle out of white mastodon ivory and then inlaid it with copper-salt dyed ivory. This artist loved metal work which was essential to the success of his mounting technique.
Anyway, paleontologists are paleontologists, not artists, machinists, or welders. Had they wanted to learn those trades then would have gone to technical schools. But do you understand that these abilities are absolutely necessary to implement this vision? I feel like I’m over-doing this but I’m not.