Wednesday, May 30, 2007

surveyor's eye

This evening I was sitting at a table with a ruler and pencil, meticulously laying out the design for a poem I am copying out for a gift.

My father, a surveyor, died thirteen years ago today. I've always figured I didn't inherit his surveyor's eye. Give me a yard and ask me how wide it is, I have no idea. I have no concept of large spaces, and distances. But you can definitely find me hunched over a piece of paper, measuring out the inches and eighths of inches and even the sixteenths ...

But it occurred to me this evening that you could actually find my dad doing the same thing. Once the wide open spaces were measured, he'd go to his drafting table with his cool triangular rulers and draw it all out. He had this great graph paper that I would steal sheets of to make multicolor designs when I was a little girl.

I only remember Dad's drafting table from when I was little. In later years he must have done most of his drafting at the office. So my image of him, as a worker, was standing out in the woods somewhere with a couple other guys, using three-legged instruments to capture the topography. Not something I comprehend much. But I can understand a pencil and a ruler, and he used those too, and I am my father's daughter.


Miss Emily said...

This makes me feel all happy and stuff. I know what you mean. I feel that way sometimes, even though my dad is still here.

I like reading these types of things about people. It's like being able to peek inside their mind.

Jeff Payne said...

Actually, in the later years Dad mostly used the computer - after about 1990, almost all drafting moved to CAD programs. That's how I got a job at Dad's company, helping set up PCs and maintain them.

Did you know that dad actually used a transit (those funny looking things on tripods) to make sure the hole we dug for the pool was level? Just a wee bit of a perfectionist :)

Wow...thirteen years. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago. I think about Dad when Brian gets meticulous - putting his toys away just so, giving his dad a hard time for not taking his shoes off in the house... :)