When I remember my mother’s father, it’s always in his workshop. At the old house, it was a small dark area shared with my grandmother’s gardening paraphernalia at the back of the garage.

They built a newer house next to the old one after World War II, his shop was a casita with windows and French doors attached to the back of the garage.

He was always working out there. I’d stand in the doorway for hours watching. He’d never let me inside when the jigsaw was going.

He built stick horses with one dimensional heads. I rode those horses for many an hour practicing for barrel racing.

He made rocking horses. The kind you could sit in like a rocking chair.

And he designed a doll bed that flipped from rocking to steady. My dolls and my daughters’ dolls slept many a night in those beds.

My favorite thing he built was birdhouses with tin roofs. He created assorted sizes in different shapes and hung them along the heaves of his little casita’s porch. In the Spring, birds made nests in all the houses. We’d sit on the porch with coffee and cookies to dunk and listen to the baby birds. After Opa was gone, I received the birdhouses.

Today, they hang around my porch.

I think about Opa and what a legacy he left with his birdhouses. He didn’t have social media, no television. Just him in his workshop with his saw and the radio.

One of his birdhouses has a nest this year. I’m excited. This horrid pandemic may have forced me to stay home, but I’m kinda happy to leave the rush and noise to sit on my porch and listen for the baby birds like I did with Opa and Oma.