The other day (well, lots of other days ago–time flies), Kyle hollered from the living room into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner:
“Mom! Do we have an anvil?”
At first I thought he said Advil. Then my ears brought his words into focus and I hollered back to make sure:
“An anvil? Like the thing Wile E. Coyote used to drop down on the Road Runner all the time?”
(As a side note, you must know I take some delight in the fact that my son, whose nickname used to be Coyote [Kyle. Kyle E. Wile E. Wile E Coyote. Coyote], was invoking his namesake.)
“No. We don’t have an anvil.”
(Really. I ask you. Who do you know that just happens to have an anvil sitting around getting all rusted up in his or her backyard, garage, or shed.)
It wasn’t two days later that I walked out my front door and almost tripped over an anvil right there on my front lawn.
Apparently a friend of Kyle’s just happened across an anvil somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, dug it up, and was willing to part with it for a cool $40.
Hey Mr. Road Runner! Better watch out!
So Kyle, who has become the King of the How-To Video, has taken a sudden interest in metal working. Smithing. Forge-ery. (OK, I made up that last one.) He has slowly acquired several odd tools, random parts and pieces of equipment (old brake drum anyone?) and has started to build his own forge. I’d like to say I’m helping in some way, but other than the occasional run to Lowe’s, Harbor Freight Tools, or Provo City Library, I’m mostly just getting out of the way and standing back to watch.
I watch him learn some things the hard way (which is ok, because I am starting to believe that those may be the lessons which stick with us the most). For example, some kinds of brick are better for retaining the necessary heat and therefore for forge-making than others.
I watch him learn to deal with nay-sayers.
I watch from the dining room window as a few other local teens come over to see what’s up and literally stick some iron (or what have you) in the fire.
I watch him dig out the Neosporin and the bandaids and nurse the occasional burn for a couple of days at a time.
It’s all good.
The first Saturday after softball season was over I had one thing on my mind: spending some quality time with the-child-who-gets-abandoned-annually-during-softball-season. Kyle wanted to check out the blacksmithing demo at the Pioneer Village. It was intresting. But it quickly became apparent that the volunteer doing the demo hasn’t spent as much time watching YouTube how-to videos or with his nose in the latest smithing book as Kyle. Kyle patiently watched for awhile and we ask a few questions. Then, when the nice man was perplexed about which tool to use for his intended task, Kyle thoughtfully found a way to offer a suggestion without making said nice man feel sheepish. That happened a couple of times and we watched a little longer before wandering through the rest of the village. On our way out we met up with another man who took our contact information and promised to put us in touch with the local blacksmithing club. (By club, I assumed he meant guild. And I already know that Kyle can join, but they won’t let him do any actual smithing in any of their classes until he’s 18. I know how to use the Internets too.)
Over dinner last night the subject of the anvil came up again. Apparently the version of its discovery as related to Kyle by the friend who was so quick to sell it to Kyle might not have been entirely factual. The boy’s mother tracked down Shane the other night to ask about the family heirloom anvil that has gone missing. We will be returning it straight away, as soon as Kyle gets his $40 back. Apparently anvils are a little harder to come by than tripping across on in a junkyard and are also a little more expensive than a cool $40.
“I’ll find another one,” Kyle says.
Of that I have no doubt.