Dad Was a Carpenter: A Father, a Son, and the Blueprints for a Meaningful Life

Dad Was a Carpenter: A Father, a Son, and the Blueprints for a Meaningful Life

by Kenny Kemp

Hardcover(1 ED)

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On the day before Christmas, Kenny Kemp raised his father's heavy garage door and began going through 40 years of accumulated materials and belongings. It was four months after his father's death from Lou Gehrig's disease, a painful, troubled time for which there seemed to be no answers.

As Kenny sorted and cleaned, a greater understanding of his loss slowly came to him. Remembrances of his father's love, strength, and quiet courage emerged from carefully preserved mayonnaise jars full of straightened nails; overstuffed, weathered workbench drawers; time-tested tools; and a venerable 30-year-old piece of plywood. Precious relics, each telling in silent eloquence stories about the greatness of a man who had the gift to see something "new and useful inside something old and worn."

Beautifully written, these poignant stories provide a unique perspective on life's fleeting moments and disregarded details. Each chapter begins with one of his father's truisms, which taken together provide the "blueprints for a meaningful life." Dad Was a Carpenter is a remarkable book that asks us to think about all of our relationships in a different way. Fathers and children of all ages everywhere will cherish this gift for years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062517630
Publisher: Harper San Francisco
Publication date: 05/01/2001
Edition description: 1 ED
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.62(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Watch it when you make a deal with
God — be sure to keep your end of the bargain.

I lied. Dad was not really a carpenter. He didn't work in the trades at all. He was a pharmacist — an ordinary man with poor eyesight, gapped teeth, and no hearing in one ear, who struggled through high school, then flight school, then college, where Mom helped him with his trig homework.

By the time we became acquainted, Dad was a pharmacist at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, a San Diego suburb. When we'd visit him at work, there were always lots of interesting toys in his office — little goodies that drug salesmen would hand out (back in the days when the term drug salesmandidn't have such an ominous undertone): pads of notepaper with the name of some new medication emblazoned on them in red italics, a huge two-toned capsule inscribed with the words Chlor-Trimeton,and pencils and rulers and so on, fascinating things for any five-year-old. I still have some of those goodies, and when I visit my mom I always notice that she has drawers full of them — dusty archaeological finds, faded in memory.

Mom's tendency to keep everythinghas always been both a comfort and a consternation to me. She has enough white plastic Cool Whip containers to keep every leftover in southern California fresh. Readers' Digests from the late forties. Butterick dress patterns from the sixties. The memories in Mom's house abound — most of them as warm and tasty as her butterflake rolls.

But there are some memories in that house I don'twant, and as I was driving south on Interstate 5 that day before Christmas, I knew this was a day I'd always remember — for good or bad. I hoped it would be a good memory, but I'm a realist. Today would be hard.

My father was dead.

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