For the first two weeks of February I drove around town with a 75-pound anvil in my car. True, having extra weight in the back of your car isn’t a bad idea in South Dakota in the wintertime, but that was merely a side benefit. The anvil was in my car because it had traveled there from my parents’ farm. My sister, with a little help from me, managed to lug it out of the shop and into my back seat. I wasn’t about to try to unload it. Besides, it was a gift and needed a temporary hiding place, and the floor of my car was as good a spot as any.
This anvil is old, at least 80 years by my best guess, and possibly quite a bit more. It belonged to my grandfather and may well have belonged to someone else before him. He was a farmer, a blacksmith, a horseshoer, and the unofficial neighborhood horse doctor. He was a tinkerer who could fix almost anything and had a knack for creative invention. One of his innovations, for example, was replacing the side curtains of the family Model T with sliding windows.
After Grandpa’s death in 1956, the anvil was occasionally used by my uncle Ernie and my father. This winter, though, it finally was time to sell the farm. It was time to find new homes for many of the shop tools.
So I brought the anvil home—not to keep, but on behalf of a friend. She bought it for her husband as a Valentine gift. It wasn’t the most traditional of gifts. Seventy-five pounds of chocolate, maybe. But 75 pounds of iron? Some people might not consider that romantic.
Probably not. Probably, though, it was even better—a gift that was thoughtfully chosen by the giver and thoroughly appreciated by the recipient.
Because the anvil’s new owner, like my grandfather, is a tinkerer. He has an interest in blacksmithing. He can fix almost anything, can build almost anything, and has a knack for creative invention. He has wanted an anvil for a long time.
I think my grandfather would approve.