There’s no such thing as scrap wood


“What’s this”, he asked eying the banana tree

Which was a gift from my mother. 

An over-priced gadgety, last-minute, got to get gift item,

Of which I’m sure she thought, “now this is neat”.

“How much did it cost”, he probed.

The answer of course I knew because she had,

In a motherly sort of way left the price tag on.

Seven dollars and ninety-nine cents.

“This would be easy to make”, he said

With his hand upon his chin,

Eying the be-hooked arc upon its wooden stage.

“Get me a piece of paper and a pencil.”


Soon, all who ate bananas had trees

To hang them on.

Where the yellow-jacketed fruit would wait

In unknown anticipation of what fate may have in store for it.


“Uncle Sam’s got something for you.”

The greeting upon their arrival in Florida.

Out of the bag came a wooden box,

Embellished with slender slats the length of the top.

(A dish drainer, a trivet, a musical instrument)

“It’s to cut bread on”, beams Aunt Ro.

“You see the crumbs fall through the slats.”

Of course, what else could it be?

And I’m the one with the Master’s degree.

“Made it out of scrape wood”.

Offers Uncle Sam, dubiously.

They sell in the catalogs for over $50.


Soon, all who broke bread did so neatly.

And it will please those who were not of the first to receive,

The model they posses is “new and improved”

Precisely designed to hold & cut a loaf to Tops Italian bread









Wheeling and dealing and a supply was had,

Of blades out of which he fashioned knives,

To cut the loaves upon the breadboards.

Also sold at a premium in many a gourmet catalog.

A shortage of counter space?

Or in need of a place to knead?

A bit-o-barter with the village cabinetry shop,

And Uncle Sam was fast to work.

With laminated particle board in hand,

It is amazing the use one can think,

For the part of the hole,

That is now a sink.


No more burnt fingers

Retrieving hot toast.

Or need for awkward potholders

To check on the roast.


I can just imagine the wheels

Turning in Uncle Sam’s mind

Upon spying the small table in the Ortolano living room.

Needless to say,

Patty was out one side table for many a day,

While the prototype was being fashioned.

So that others may have their beverage of choice

Close at hand.

We, among many others

 Were fortunate enough to procure one of these fine tables.

And we, were most fortunate to receive a second

Just two weeks ago.


A toddler and a kitchen, not exactly a match made in heaven.

Uncle Sam, how hard would it be?

To fashion a do-hickey that would fit like so,

So into cabinets the little one will not go.








A three-bedroom house

With four bedrooms worth of furniture.

A baby on the way,

Sure hate to put that vanity down stairs.

Hey Uncle Sam, how hard would it be?

Let’s (proverbial let’s) make a changing table

That will fit right on top.

More paper and pencils, measurements and diagrams

Out of scrap wood was born

A changing table for the baby.

A safe place indeed to care for the tot.

Perfectly made out of love and scrap wood.


Child-sized coat racks,

Squirrel-proof feeders for the birds.

Oh, and as for the bread box,

It does work great as a trivet.


To his grandchildren;

Cherish your clocks.

Let them always remind you

Of the time you had with your grandfather.

There are only four clocks,

There are only four of you.

In years to come, when your own children

Look to the clock up on the wall,

Tell them of their great-grandfather.

He was a great man, a great innovator.

He was family to you, and friend to many.

Tell them, he was friend to scrap wood.


In loving memory of Samuel Ark, Jr.



Kristen C Lockwood

April 4, 2001