Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 16, 2004
Sculpting Has Begun
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 16, 2004 – Yesterday, in my quest to find river stones for my Christmas “Inukshuk” project I visited Parkview Building Supplies near O’Connor. After a brief chat with the man behind the counter I was given directions to drive down the lane and turn right at the end of the lot, and ask for “Moe”.
I follow directions well and arrived at my destination in short order. It was raining – a light, slow drizzle. I had just had a pedicure and was wearing a pair of black leather slip-ons. Three busy fork lifts churned around the yard carrying skids of rock and turning the dirt into a juicy skim of mud. I stepped out of my car gingerly and immediately sank up to my toes in the soupy slop. My purple toe nail polish shone bravely through the mud.
I looked up at the man gazing down at my feet and said, “Moe”. He was stifling a grin but nodded a welcome hello. “I’m looking for river stones”, I said cheerfully. “Follow me” was the only response. He set off across the back of the yard and I followed, sinking into the mud at every step. “He’s got to be bloody kidding”, I thought as I soldiered on after him. About a hundred feet from my car, Moe stopped and pointed to a gigantic mound of rock and said, “River stones – formed as the rocks tumbled endlessly down the river beds over many years. Five ninety-nine a bag – help yourself”. “These are round”, I said. “You’re quick” said Moe. “I need flat ones”, I replied. “You’ll have to pick them out yourself,” quipped Moe, “Maybe you’d like to come back on a sunny day and bring your lunch”.
I smiled warmly, thanked Moe for his time and hobbled back to my car. I wiped my feet off on a plastic grocery bag that I had in the glove compartment of my car and climbed in behind the wheel. “You’re not the only game in town there Bucko”, I thought. With my feet squishing inside my slip-ons I drove to Kuda on Carlaw Avenue, parked my car and went inside. There was a table right in front of the cash counter with a bucket on top. It was filled with smooth, loose stones.
I asked about them and was told that they were available in individual bags – one colour per bag at $89.00 a pop. Not quite what I had in mind. After some chatting about my requirements I trooped out to the storage room with four employees and we went through stacks of ocean stones that are glued to a one foot square black net backing. If any of the stones have come off during transit the square can’t be sold as first run merchandise. I bought seven damaged squares of wonderful, flat ocean stones in a variety of colours and three small net bags of stones in a variety of shapes. My loot cost me sixty-one dollars.
The next task was to separate the stones from the black net backing. I pried them off one by one and dropped then into the kitchen sink, then pick one up to examine the glue residue. It was a thick, hard yellow coloured goop. Home Depot provided the answer with a strength “2” goop remover and heavy rubber furniture stripping gloves. I added the elbow grease and started the painstaking process of removing the glue from each individual stone. At five minutes a stone (even with an generous application of the poisonous goop remover) this is going to take awhile.
I need danger pay for working with toxic materials under risky conditions. I finally finished eighteen stones and washed them twice in boiling water, then dried them with a soft, clean cloth. I sat down at my kitchen table and in five minutes I’d pieced together my first Inukshuk (minus the glue – which I will apply when I’m ready to begin the final creations. These little guys need to be colour enhanced before I’m ready to wield the glue gun.
It looked brilliant. I’m thrilled. These are going to be amazing gifts. I’ve decided to name each one and number it 1 of 12. For instance “Nurmi” – 3 of 12 created by Roe – Christmas 2004. Then I’m going to do an individual write up for each gift bag with the history and significance of the Innukshuk in the Canadian north. In theory these will be ocean stone Innkshuk – not authentic northern river stones – but somehow I don’t think anyone will mind, and if they do, I say – “Too bad for you if you can’t take a joke. River stone – ocean stone – who cares? These will be great gifts!