As I mixed up a batch of Father’s Day brownies to bake for Dad, a memory over fifty years old floated through my mind. At that time, Dad was in the middle of building a third bedroom along with a larger living room onto our small home. He did this work by himself.
Seeing all the scraps of lumber from the addition project, I decided to make myself a pair of walking stilts. I sifted through the leftover building material and soon found lumber suitable for my project.
I chose two partially used 2×4’s for the tall, upright poles and simply nailed two small chunks of wood onto the poles for the foot pieces.
Pleased with my creation, I toted them to our sidewalk. Excited to try out the stilts, I lifted one knee up high and stood on a foot piece. Immediately the foot piece tore off and exposed the nails…which almost sliced into my leg.
At that moment Dad stepped out onto the porch and saw what happened. He yelled at me for trying such a foolish stunt. Totally upset, I stalked off. My child’s mind didn’t understand Dad’s angry response came from concern for my safety.
A while later Dad found me. He carried a pair of walking stilts, newly constructed by him, for me.
These were made from a new eight foot 2×4 that he had cut down the middle to create two eight foot 2×2 poles. To each pole, Dad securely fastened a foot piece braced with a wooden wedge along each side. His stilts would hold an adult, making them plenty sturdy and safe for me.
I hopped up on them and walked around the yard. Dad had placed the foot pieces two feet off the ground. Standing on the stilts, I felt as high as a bird.
Today those stilts sit in our shed. Every once in a while I get them out and walk around the yard, usually when the grandsons are visiting. And I’m proud to say this 60 something grandmother can walk farther on the stilts than the grandsons…every time.