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So, I got a little misty eyed this Christmas thanks to one particularly thoughtful Christmas gift, and I wanted to share the pleasure with all of you.

Now, my Uncle Nick was a wonderful prankster, a father to five children, and four foster children, a mischief maker of the highest caliber, a cat lover, and in his spare time he made wooden toys. Not the flashy kind of toy you might expect with sparks and what not but simple wooden puzzles and things like dinosaurs on wheels for us little ones.

Before he died he came up with an ingenious toy that he gave to my father the year he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He called it "the smoke grinder". Now before you all ask what a smoke grinder is, let me explain. A smoke grinder is a simple block of wood with two tracks cut perpendicular to one another in the shape of a "+" symbol. The tracks are slightly wedge shaped, and in them are two smaller wedged shaped blocks of wood on the opposing tracks, and those are nailed, YES nailed, to a simple crank handle.

There really is no premise to this toy other than the sheer enjoyment of spending hours of your time winding the crank of this toy around the track and in essence "grinding smoke". Stupid and boring? Maybe so, but the fact of the matter is, over the many years we've had this toy dozens of people have come into the house and sat down to play with this thing, totally dumbfounded by the pleasure they derive from twisting those two little scraps of wood around the track.

My Uncle Nick made only maybe half a dozen or so of these toys before he passed away at the ripe old age of 82 and we all miss him and his "skunk juice pickels" at any family gathering. I asked his wife, my Aunt Marta, if she had an extra one lying around the house that I could have for my own home, whenever it came time for me to have one. She said she didn't know of any since those were the first things her sons wanted, but she said she would look and of course over the past two years I forgot I'd even asked.

This year she drew my name for the Stocking Stuffer round robin thing we do and buried at the bottom of my stocking was a smoke grinder, without any stain on it, but finished. I almost burst into tears. I avoided it, but I did let a few of those big sloppy wet ones fall just because it reminds me so much of the Uncle I miss as well as the Grammy.

That's my little one. Anyone else wants to post about their holiday traditions feel free :3

(Posted this at TNG boards ; ) )
  • Listening to: Holiday music
  • Reading: Nothing yet
  • Watching: The snow fall
  • Playing: WoW -with the smoke grinder
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: water
bellanoche8709 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008
You always have the best stories to tell. :) I really liked this, it makes me smile. I'm really glad you had a good Christmas. ^^
DrAw6BD Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2007
Thats a great story...glad you got something you wanted June-love
SirPointy Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2007
Awww hun, this brought a tear to my eye ;.; I'm glad you had a nice Christmas though, Merry Christmas! ^.^
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Submitted on
December 25, 2007


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