Nowadays, my son, Liam, is scrolling the eBay and the Craigslist, and is perusing the Thrifty Nickel in the hopes of finding the perfect, old Chevy small block 350 engine that he plans to drop into his 1986 Jaguar XJ6 that awaits in our driveway.
And I can already hear the little snidely-sneery question you are going to ask: "Is it up on blocks?"
It is on jack stands.
Liam will need an old tire for loading and transporting any engine he might find; a tire would make the engine more comfortable in his truck. It will rest, after all, in the bed.
So, we have to scrounge for a tire.
Sure, there's a bin full of tires at the recycling center, but the signs all read, No Scavenging. There is a lifeguard to prevent as much.
My log splitting tire is too cut up from all the mighty blows of my maul.
We do have a tire hanging from a rope on a limb of the Osage orange tree down by the road, but I like it there. It is the perfect swing-size tire, and it has already has a hole drilled in it. (One must drill a hole for drainage, don't you know.) That tire swing has been down there... let's see... 11 years or so. I have been told, legally speaking, that it is an attractive nuisance. I find great beauty in knowing that that is a real term that a real attorney made up at work one day.
I think I shall name my next band "Attractive Nuisance."
When Liam was about eight, he went through a period of collecting old hubcaps from the side of the road. We'd be driving along and he'd see one and shout, "Papa stop!"
I always stopped. I would rush out and dodge the traffic and grab it from the curb or the ditch. I would get in the car and toss the hubcap to him. He would hold it and gaze at it as if he were reading the cover of and old, adored record album. Even when he was little, Liam always had the uncanny knack of knowing a hubcap's origin, chapter and verse. "Whoa, this is from a 1977 Olds Delta 88!"
Then, of course, I always fretted over the hubcap's owner. Should I take pictures of it and print up "Found: Hubcap" flyers, and staple them to the telephone poles?
Those rescued hubcaps now adorn our treehouse.
We built the treehouse into the magnolia tree I planted in my mother's yard when I was 21 years old, so my kid would have a tree to build a treehouse in, in the yard where I grew up.
Liam turns 17 this May.
Yes, the treehouse is still there.
It is another attractive nuisance.
As is my son. Happy birthday, Liam.