Nursery Rhymes Pattern
“Here, Grandpa,” I said. “I mixed up the paint for you. These are the colors you wanted for the girls, right?”
Filmy eyes squinted at the pink, blue and yellow toy-safe paints. “That’s going to be just fine.”, he rasped. “Now, show me how this works again.”
I smiled and handed him the brush. “It’s so easy, Grandpa. You only need a little bit of paint to start” His shaking hands took the brush and carefully dipped it into the paint. “Now,” I explained, “just brush it over the end grain of the toy until it’s smooth. And don’t worry if the brush slips over the edge. I’ll help you sand it off if that happens.”
His tongue poked out of the side of his mouth as he concentrated, a habit almost 90 years old. Moments later, the top of the toy had an even coat of paint, wet patches lightly shining in the light as it started to dry. “Hey!” he gruffed as he showed it to me, “I guess you can teach this old dog new tricks!”
I have a soft spot in my heart for this Nursery Rhymes pattern. My sweet Grandpa made his first toys for our little girls using this pattern. And he did so while in hospice.
He was dying.
With that heavy knowledge in our minds, we made the toys, sitting next to each other while the machines that were keeping him alive sighed in the background. Grandma jumped in for a bit, putting in her own little touches. But they were truly the ‘Old Duffer’s’ project. And, when he finished, he had made toys lovely enough for us to photograph for this article. They are the same ones you see pictured here.
Grandpa miraculously survived the terrible illness that almost took him from us, but we all know his time with us is very short. For many years, he and Grandma shared how they would have given their ‘eyes teeth’ to learn more about their grandparents and family history. As they got older, the family’s story became more important to them, and they started striving to find ways to share those memories with their family.
Their desire to share their hard-won lessons of life, beauty, and love with the family deeply inspired BridgeWood and our commitment to heirloom quality toys.
So, it was only fitting that we would ask them to help us make toys for our little girls. And it turned out to be a beautiful bonding moment. Making toys with Grandpa meant so much to me, knowing those toys would continue telling the story of his love for many years after he had gone.
After the sealer had dried, he had the chance to watch our girls play with the toys he had made. Pink, Yellow, and Blue with bird stencils. Grandpa always loved birds.
His toys weren’t perfect.
But the love with which he made them WAS. And we will always treasure them.