Saturday, July 3, 2010

There's Something About Brightwork

I have a puzzle. It is in the shape of a cannon, about 3.5" long. The object is to extract the cannon ball, after unscrewing four different parts of what at first glance appears to be a machined piece of solid brass.

My grandmother gave it to me when I was a boy. For the last several years it has been sitting, untouched, in an out of the way part of my home. Today I dug it out and showed it to #1, who was fascinated by it for one attention span. Then I started explaining the concept of tarnished brass to her. I am not entirely sure she got it. The lesson ended with me getting an old tin of Brasso out and polishing the cannon up until it shines like gold, and it is smooth as silk to the touch. She was suitably impressed, from the first black patch of paper towel, to the final wipe-down, three paper towels later. She sat and watched the whole transformation.

Just now when I walked by, I couldn't help admiring the little thing. It is so bright and shiny and perfect-looking. Perhaps it is the Navy man in me, or perhaps it is the male in me, but this golden, mirror-smooth thing gives me a simple pleasure the way few other things can.


I am also glad I'm not the seaman responsible for this:

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