Discarded Treasures

Originally posted at Hello, Darling

(Which is such an honor. Thank you.)

As the days grew shorter and the lake grew colder, my grandfather and I spent our evenings in the junkyard. We would go from car to car ripping out wire harnesses so we could salvage the copper and sell it to the scrap dealer. Admittedly, Grandpa did most of the work, while I pilfered forgotten trinkets in the glove boxes and backseats. Until the evening my grandfather handed me a flathead screwdriver, a hammer and a coffee can.

โ€œSee those clips on the edges of the tires? Those are wheel weights. I need you to pry them off and put them in the can,โ€ he instructed. I set to my work, busily popping off the weights and filling my can. When it was full, we packed up and headed home.

My grandpa built a small fire and placed a thick pot over it, with the wheel weights inside. I was fascinated by the way they melted down into shiny molten syrup. Grandpa took the pot and poured the liquid lead into a mold. When he popped open the mold, I saw shiny new sinkers. My grandfather had managed to repurpose nasty scrap lead, dull and dented, into marvelous new fishing sinkers. โ€œNow we can make these for Christmas gifts,โ€ said my grandpa, โ€œand the only thing it will cost is a little hard work and a little time.โ€

That is what my grandpa always did. He found insignificant leftover bits of scrap, abandoned and disregarded, and delicately fashioned them into something necessary and valuable. He always made enough to share. While we forged those sinkers, we talked about who we would give them too, and where they would be used. We imagined the number of fish that would be caught with them, and if the recipient would think of us as they attached the little weight to their line. We focused on the people who would receive our sinkers.

I am no longer dirt poor. I no longer rely on the collection of scrap metal to provide my next meal. Yet I am still drawn to the idea of repurposing discarded treasures. It embodies values I want to pass on to my children. Blessings are everywhere if we take the time to look for them – and see their worth. Not necessarily in what they are labeled or intended to be, but what they can be with some redefinition. I want them to understand time is more meaningful than money, and something unique and personal is more special than a trinket from a store shelf.ย  I want them to understand everything we have is a blessing from God and should not be kept to ourselves. Regardless of the form they take, blessings are meant to be shared.