Trina Machacek: Hitting the nail on the head

Trina Machacek

There’s something in me that really does not like to make phone calls. Oh, I like to talk on the phone. Talking and I are grand friends. But for some reason, my insides get squiggly when I have to make a call. Very strange indeed since I come from a very long line of telephone company worker bees.
This phobia goes all the way back to the CB (Citizen’s Band) radios. We had them in our vehicles and a base station in our home. It was weird to me to pick up the microphone and say 10-4 and all the jargon that went along with making contact with the outside world. HAHA.
Making phone calls has always had, within me, this feeling of interrupting someone. You know, you can’t see what someone is doing in their home or office when you call them. Of course, with the wonderful invention of the cell phone you can now even interrupt people when they are doing things other than dusting the living room or working at a desk at work. Quite a visual that I don’t think I need to explain any further.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind getting phone calls. It’s the placing them that doesn’t set well for me. Then when I do call, the squiggly thing disappears, and all is right with the world. It’s like when I learned to hammer.
As a girl growing up, carpentry was not in my headlights. I wish today it was. I enjoy the smell of sawdust. Of course, I never thought I would weld either but along the way welding was one of the many things I was taught. I don’t think I could even set up a welder today, but I can teach you how to weld two ice cubes together. It’s all the same process really. I have touched off an arc that goes down the wrong stinger.
Out of necessity things are learned by us all. Brushing your teeth so they don’t fall out. How to walk to get from here to there. Oh, and how to go to the bathroom. You know, so you can answer the phone while in there. Oh, my stars.
Nailing a nail takes some getting used to. You can get a hammer and a bunch of nails and nail things together without any instructions. But where’s the fun in that? I don’t think there is a class in nailing. There should be. There really is an art to nailing. Getting the right tool for the job is important. So, learning about hammers was first. Hammers are cool tools. But they are nothing compared to learning about nails. Sizes, head shapes and ring shank. What in the world was a shank and why put a ring on it? Then I got to enjoy the process of nailing this to that. It wasn’t easy though.
When I first picked up a big ole hammer and started to bang away, the nails would always bend. That’s when I learned this funny line that would stick with me forever. As I nailed and the nail would bend and I would try to hammer it back straight up I would hear, “Is the wind blowing in here?” As to tell me that the wind was blowing so hard the nails were bending over. Funny right? But! Yes, a nail bending “but.” It teaches you when you try too hard that things may need to be slowed down. Then as you slow down to learn, things start to come together.
I have bent hundreds of nails. Tiny paneling and finishing nails bend just like ten penny coated framing nails. I might say though that it really takes a huge wind to bend a big ole ring shank spike. If you don’t pay attention to what you are doing though, it too will bend.
Every year during the 4th of July celebrations here in Eureka, the firemen put on street games on main street. It’s a wonderful time of fun, frolic, and families. One contest is nail driving. I entered the women’s event in past years. Won a few times. It’s really a testament of how each person can hit the nail on the head. As the years have come and scurried past, I have seen many people who knew how to hit the nail just right, those who miss more than hit the nail on the head and those who were still feeling the wind blow as their nails bent over.
Some keep hitting no matter what and some just give up. I learned along the way to laugh at the past nails I have hammered straight or bent. Each nail was a lesson well learned.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Find her books online wherever you buy books or email her at itybytrina@yahoo.com for a signed copy.

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