Saturday, April 11, 2015

365 Project - Day 101 - "Workbench and Banana Stickers"

April 11, 2015 - "Workbench and Banana Stickers"

It was around 1997. Maybe 1998. I don't know... my mind is a bit blurry on dates these days.

My brother Peter and I were working together at Barney's Place art gallery and picture framing shop in Greenwich, CT. The ATG (Automatic Tape Guns) that we had absolutely sucked. They were old, beat up, and would jam on us all of the time. So we decided to buy new ones for all of the framers in the shop. We thought they'd be nice, sleek, black ATGs... sort of an improved version of the old ones. Then they showed up... and we opened the box... and saw these bright yellow monsters. We joked about them being a bunch of freakin' bananas.

The ATGs worked perfectly though. They were easier to load... and very rarely jammed up on us.

Somewhere along the line my brother started taking the stickers from the bananas he'd have with lunch every-once-in-a-while - and would stick them to his banana of an ATG. His theory was - "It looks like a freakin' banana... I might as well help it to look more like a freakin' banana"... or something along those lines.

Little-by-little the ATG became covered with banana stickers. When Peter left Barney's Place, the ATG went with him to his next framing job. When that job ended and he opened his own Frame Shop, the big banana ATG went with him again.

Today I went to my brother's Frame Shop for the first time since his passing. It was just my wife Holly, my son Brandon and me. We went there partly so Brandon could have a bit of closure: The frame shop was the last place he spent time with his uncle... and he was in awe of the place, especially all of the framing samples lined up on the walls.

Brandon walked around snapping photos of all of the frame samples and other things in the shop. He stayed strong... but had a brief moment where he broke down just a little. He had a lot of questions for me about what the different machines and tools were for... so I explained them all to him and showed him how a few were used.

After a little while, I sent Holly and Brandon out to the car. I locked the door... went into the back room (the work room)... leaned up against the workbench... and just let it all out. I completely broke down. I talked to my brother... saying all that I needed to say... making all of the promises I needed to make. Then I shut off the lights... grabbed my things... headed to the door... looked at the plants that are right at the entrance and said out loud "Don't forget to water your plants, bro!".

And that was that.

After we left the shop we headed over to Colony Bar & Grill for some pizza and several very-much-needed pints of Guinness. They were probably the best-tasting pints of Guinness I've ever had.

Tonight I'm heading to my brother Kenny's house to get a tattoo in my brother Peter's honor...

... and the healing continues.

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