Jobs Done Right
– Rachel Crooks
Her family has lived and died within the same square kilometer –
Outskirts turned prized inner-city lot
Apple picking in a small backyard, gnomes in the garden –
Where an industrious railroad engineer and politically-minded volunteer
Raised my mother.
I bother her and my dad every Friday evening,
Arriving unannounced for pizza and wine and laundry –
She’ll sigh when I say my pants need hemming, but her practiced hand never measures wrong –
She pins fabric around my ankles and I like to picture her at work,
Sewing the styles of the 80s –
Angry brides with puffy sleeves and extravagance,
And one thousand hand sewn beads –
Passing the old shop on 17th avenue, I make sure to stop my friends:
Did you know what my mom used to do?
It’s Monday now, her work day, making sense out of code at her consultant gig –
We meet for lunch at a small local place where they know her name and order,
And she recounts to me the technological disaster of the week –
I remember dancing around her computer as a child, distracting her from learning,
Seeing the inner bones of the internet, creating ways to communicate
for people who would come by for dinner –
authors and metal-workers and small publishers.
Criss-crossing the city later in a little red car,
What neighbourhood is this? I can ask anywhere, and I get accounts of
Her latest evenings and weekends:
Houses she has been inside, stories she has been told –
A family of ten looking (desperately) for more bedrooms,
Job loss and heartbreak and finding fewer square feet,
Squirrel hideouts and kraft dinner that expired in 1989 –
The ins and outs, the quirks and oddities –
Of homes and people scattered across the city.
I help load up her horse at 6AM on a July morning –
Preparing for a trek to the Stampede grounds,
Blearily clutching the coffee I insisted we stop for –
But I can lift hay bales at 27 the same way I could when I was 12, because she taught me:
Industry and inventiveness, not in a boastful way,
Just a way to get a job done and done well –
Measure twice, cut once –
If you’re not going to do it right the first time, don’t do it at all –
Take all the advice you can get and then do what you damn well please.
Rachel Crooks is an emerging writer from Calgary, Alberta. She is a graduate student at the University of Calgary, and enjoys creative writing in her spare time. Her work has been previously published in FreeFall Magazine.