I saw our postman bent over, rather like a leg-dragging hunchback, carrying a paperback novel-sized parcel up our driveway the other day. He was peering around to make sure that someone was witnessing his struggle. He saw me, and bellowed out, “Do you know how much this package weighs?”
I’m feeling guilty. “Nope!” I reply. But I did have a good idea.
He grimaced, “27 pounds. What is in this package? 27 pounds!” He thrust the innocuous looking parcel at me. I know he did it so that I would buckle under its weight. But I was prepared. I held my ground.
Thrilled I was, but I wouldn’t tell him that. He delivers the occasional package up our steep driveway, but this one really choked him. I apologized and feigned ignorance.
I appreciate his deliveries and noticed one winter day that he was making himself a pathway through the snow to get to our neighbour’s house, so he didn’t have to maneuver our slippery slope. Just so he knew that it was ok to cut through our garden I posted a hand-painted sign on his trail and titled it after him: O’Connor Way.
Oh, the HEAVY package was 3 sets of tiny lead typeset…beautiful little letters and apostrophes and ampersands all neatly pressed together in ancient cardboard boxes. (More on these lovelies in my next in2 post.)
There was, sadly, only one chase(the part that holds all the individual letters), so I decided to make a few more, so that I could interchange the chases, instead of setting new type every time I used the press.
And yes, I said a few chases. Ha! 5 hours later, 6 crooked pieces of maple, 3 warped tin insets, I finally complete one. One. One sad, loose, fat chase that doesn’t look or perform as perfectly as my letterpress’s only chase. Not even close!
Green envy of the craftsmen of 100 years ago-It makes me appreciate that little machine sooo much more. Have you ever tried to cut a piece of rock hard maple? Or bend a piece of tin into tiny little grooves? Sheesh. Deep appreciation of tradespeople.
I’ll be visiting Corbette’s today to purchase a hand stamp and I’ll be checking out ebay for a few century old chases.
I’ll fill you in. After that visit to the business supplies store.