Puttering Around


When I was a little girl, I remember that Saturdays in our house were full of activity. My mom would give all six kids our chores. We’d clean our rooms, vacuum, help with laundry. Mom often did grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, and I remember the kitchen being filled with paper bags and food and noise.

But I mostly remember my Dad, in a white T shirt or an old sweatshirt, a pencil tucked behind one ear. He would move around the house and yard all day long, hammering, sawing, building, taking apart. He planted, pruned, raked, mowed. He was usually either humming or whistling as he bustled around.

I remember trailing after him, asking, “What are you doing, Daddy?”  His answer was always the same, whether he was planting a garden or building a shed.

“I’m just puttering,” he’d say.

“Puttering?”  It sure looked like work to me!

Now the years have passed, and Dad is gone. Today would have been his 89th birthday. I miss him.

I felt a little restless this morning, a little sad and irritable.

I decided to clean out the cabinets under my bathroom sinks, so that all will be safe when Ellie starts to crawl. As I did, I noticed some spots in the bathroom that needed to have the paint touched up. So I did that.

And while I was in the garage finding the paint, I saw that the garden tools were all disorganized and needed cleaning. I wiped them down, placed them in a clean plastic bucket, threw out old rags and bits of string.

When that was finished, I came upstairs to grab a second cup of coffee. But I noticed that my ceramic Easter Bunnies were still out on display. I wrapped them carefully and put them in a bag to go back in the attic. Realizing that I’d be going to the trouble of pulling down the attic stairs and climbing up there, I decided to put away some of the things that the baby has outgrown. Which lead me to pack up my sweaters and winter clothes. I hauled all of it upstairs and moved around some boxes to make it easier to find things.

Two hours later, I sat down to catch my breath.

And looked at a smiling picture of my Dad in my living room.

“Hey, Dad,” I said out loud. “I think I’ve been puttering.”

11 thoughts on “Puttering Around

  1. What a lovely way to remember your Dad. Not only your puttering but also your post. Happy birthday to your Dad. I hope he’s busy puttering today where ever he is.

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  2. Great post and amazing tribute to your Dad. You were channeling him today and he was definitely with you all the way in spirit.

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  3. Packing up your winter clothes on April 3 in MA sounds a bit optimistic!
    I’m more of a day-dreamer than a putterer. I certainly notice paint that needs to be touched up, but it would never — in a million years — occur to me to do something about it.

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    • Yeah, me either! Unless I’m anxious….then I putter! When my kids were little, Paul would come home and notice that everything was clean and organized. His first words would be, “Uh, oh. Who’s in trouble?”

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