Three kids. Three hammers. Three bags of nails. One terribly befuddled grandmother.
All added up to a big bag of Trouble — not the Quality Bonding Time that I had envisioned for our outing to the Lowe’s kids’ workshop. “It’ll be great!” I had thought. “What a fun, different — and, yay, FREE activity we can do together!”
But that recent Saturday morning as we signed in and were handed our bags-of-pieces, I realized I had messed up. (Like failing to “measure twice / cut once.”)
I had forgotten the main part of “some assembly required”: The ability to read diagrams. (Apparently when the Lord handed out 3D-visualization brain-lobes, instead I grabbed the spelling / finding-four-leaf-clovers package. I am not a useful person.) These “Build and Grow” blueprints mocked my SAT scores; hammers trump grammar skills.
So here were my three dear grandkids — Lennon, Adeline, Collier — eager to hammer many wooden pieces (and TWO sizes of petite nails) into “‘Madagascar 3’ Luxury Assault Vehicles.”
We huddled on our little rug (thoughtfully provided by Lowe’s) on the concrete floor. I eyed clever parents, skillfully working one-on-one with their budding carpenters.
HELP! I ran for the lone Lowe’s workshop-helper, Zack Gordon, and pleaded my case. Yes! Quite the mellow lad, he patiently assisted as needed.
“I always build one [of that day’s projects] before the kids come,” he said. He handles the every-other-weekend summer sessions, and did them last summer too. (Workshops are held all year long, other staffers said.)
Zack said this summer’s projects have DreamWorks themes: Madagascar3, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. (Later I saw some take-home kits for sale, too — for you particularly confident souls.)
The recent graduate had taken “shop” class at Salem High School, but lately discovered that he really enjoys learning about plants. Now botany is a career goal.
“Building stuff” might run in his family: When my parents came to watch the goings-on, Mama discovered that Zack’s great-grandfather Ed Gordon had built their pool. (Ah, Salem!)
Bless his heart, somewhere Zack also learned how to work with kids. His stepbrothers are Hunter Gordon (5), Matthew Gregory (11) and David Ashman (16). He lives with dad Kevin Gordon and step-mom Julie Ashman; mom Cindy Osborn lives in Las Vegas.
I happened to see Zack after the next day’s workshop (I’ve spent much time in ALL of Salem’s lovely hardware stores this year). Behind the Customer Service desk, he was still smiling — a remarkable young man.
And we even returned two weeks later to try a new project! OK, I still needed help. But if you need a spelling / grammar consultation or perhaps a four-leaf-clover, let me know.
(A side note: Zack’s just-paid-off car was crushed in the June 29th storm.)
Lowe’s (W. Main St., Salem) offers free kids’ workshops every two weeks, Sat. 10 a.m. and Sun. 2 p.m. Call to confirm times: (540) 378-2030.