beautiful concrete


On one of our Monday dates, Hawk and I headed to Granville Island while Esmé was at the Lyceum.

My reason to go to Granville Island was to get three very specific shades of blue Prismacolor artists’ pencils.

Hawk’s reason was to ogle observe the cement plant on Johnson at Old Bridge Street.

I love pencils, paints, fine paper, oil pastels, markers.

Hawk loves big wheels, cement mixers, hard hats, safety cones, mechanic shops.

Thankfully, Granville Island has all of that!

We plonked down just to one side of the west entrace to the Ocean Concrete plant, and watched the workers inspect their cement trucks at the start of their shift.  We admired the tumbling barrels, especially the one dressed like a strawberry, another like a bunch of asparagus.  Ocean Concrete is the largest and oldest tenant on Granville Island.  They’ve been there since 1917!  Their lease doesn’t expire until 2046.  They’ve definitely made themselves at home, and are a kind of literal and figurative anchor on the island.

Then we hung out by the other driveway, where the weigh station is, and where you can see the trucks getting loaded with water and sand.  We watched them file out, one by one.  And then we were done.

Or so I thought.

But just on the other side of the weigh station is the mechanic shop, where they work on the cement trucks.  The mechanics were hanging out, just back from a coffee break, when they noticed Hawk peering in from the open garage door.  He was particularly interested in the pit underneath the truck, which he kept inching closer to.  Much to his delight, he found an old bolt on the floor.

“Ine can keep it?” he asked, holding it lovingly in one fist.

“I don’t know, bud.”  I pointed to the mechanics.  ”It belongs to them.”

“Ina keep it.” He hugged the bolt close and stared at his boots.

“You’ll have to ask before you can keep it, Hawk.”

He took a step into the garage.  ”Es’oos me?” he whispered.  The radio was blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd, and no one heard him.  But then a grizzled old guy in an orange jumpsuit noticed Hawk in his rainbow sweater.

“What can I do for you, kiddo?” he asked, kneeling down.

“Ina keep dis?” Hawk reluctantly showed him the bolt.

The guy looked up at me.

“He’d really like to keep the bolt,” I translated.  ”If that’s okay?”

“Sure.”  He straightened.  ”Hold on,” he said to Hawk.  ”I got something for you.”  He limped across the garage to a tiny windowless office.  He came back a moment later, with a postcard that had a picture of the asparagus truck on it, and a few facts about concrete on the other side.  ”Would you like this?”

Hawk took it, and gazed at it in awe.

“Fank you,” he whispered.  ”Ina keep dis too.”

“You’re welcome.  I got to get back to work.”  The man patted him on the head and limped away.  ”See you later.”

With Hawk besotted with his swag, we headed for Opus, where he trailed behind me in the store, so uninterested in all the colourful art supplies and precarious displays of easels and frames and sketchbooks and paintbrushes that he didn’t lay a hand on anything.

When I’d piled my items on the sales counter, the artiste working the till grinned, her eyes shining behind her big flourescent 80′s glasses.  ”How’d you get him not to touch anything?  Kids are always toppling stuff over in here.”

“He’s otherwise occupied at the moment.”

He held onto that bolt and that postcard all the way back to the Lyceum, and then all the way home.  He took them to bed with him for his nap, and again to bed with him that night.  He is a single-minded kid at times, and this was most definitely one of those times.







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2 Responses

  1. Auntie Ruth says:

    Oh my…tears in my eyes. I bet the grizzled old guy had a smile on his face the rest of the day as well.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I can’t wait for some time that Esme and Hawk can spend with us here, especially with Mike in the shop watching and learning.
    Love to you all!

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