Making a Family Heirloom (and Memories to Boot)

My family likes old things.  Antiques is too grand a word for it.  The word “antique” calls to mind things to be put on a shelf and looked at.  Not to be touched.  Certainly not to be used.  But our prized finds are things that are old and beautiful, but also useful.

A few months ago we found an old Eskimo wooden toboggan at a church yard sale.  The price was $5.00.  But I waited too long to buy it.  I was being too clever for my own good; trying to look less interested than I was to try to get the price down.  When I went back to the table to pick it up, it had already been sold.  My kids had already fallen in love with it, and I saw the potential.  So, I walked around the sale until I found a lady walking around with it.  After some dickering we settled on a price of $15.  Two very sad looking, cute-as-can-be kids probably didn’t hurt the negotiations, and I’m not above leveraging whatever assets I have.

It was a good deal even for the higher price.  But it did have some issues.  The pull rope was gone, the finish was a wreck, and several of the slats were crack and splintering in the sharpest part of the curve.  The rope was old and frayed as well, and would need to be replaced anyway to match the new pull rope.

The whole family pitched in and soon, with some rope, some spar urethane, and just a little bit of fiberglass, we had it back in fighting shape.

I really like this project.  With a small investment of both time and money we got to stack several functions.  The family was excited about it.  They were invested.  This project allowed us to spend some quality time together.  It allowed us to impart some skills to the girls, and teach a couple of lessons about problem solving along the way (it could easily be considered part of their home schooling).  And at the end of the project we had a sled the kids were excited to use.  More importantly, we had captured a moment in time.  And we had a family heirloom, a legacy that we can use in the moment as a sled, and in the future as décor that will constantly remind us of when the girls were small, and happy, and a joyous part of our home.

Do yourself a favor, find yourself a project.  A project that will bring your family together as a team.  A project that will mean something a year from now; ten years from now.  Something that when all is said and done, they can pass down to their kids; both the sled, and the memories.  Priceless.

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