Those Calloused Hands Part 1 (Day 1-17)

Those Calloused Hands Part 1 (Day 1-17)

A Chapter by Serenedy

Introduction- April doing chores




Those Calloused Hands

By: Dannielle Mechling



On a hot summer day you will see my dad working away on our farm. Weather it be tilling the fields with his tractor, mending a fence, or welding, he’s always doing something constructive. He’s my hero. He’s the most caring and hard working man I’ve ever known. You know how they say ‘what you see is what you get?’ Well with him it’s ‘what you hear is what you get. His name is mason and that’s what he does. We’ve had some hard times in our life but dad was always there bustin his bones to make it work. He had a tough childhood. His mom and dad fought a lot. Sometimes his dad got physical but dad says it was mostly verbal and mental abuse. His mom was strong even then. She knew he loved her deep down inside. My dad learned a lot from his parents. He learned hard work, determination, and sometimes even stubbornness from his dad and perseverance and endurance from his mom. He never gives up and keeps working hard.

Day 1

“Mom where’s dad? Is he outside?”

“Yeah I think so.” Did you get your homework done?”

“Ma…do I have to? It’s so stupid.”

“Well if it was stupid, the teacher wouldn’t have you do it would she?”

“Well no… I guess not. Ok, I’ll do it then.”


She goes in her room, finds her back pack, and pulls out her high school homework planner. She remembers what she has to do.


“Oh yeah.” She says to herself

“Creative writing. My favorite season. Well, I like summer and I like fall but I have to choose one. Well, I’m going to write about fall.”


She thinks to herself…


Well I like fall because of the harvest, so I’ll write about that.


She writes…


‘My favorite season is fall because I love corn and carving pumpkins for Halloween. My favorite corn is white and yellow corn because it tastes so sweet. My grandma calls it butter corn. The thing most people don’t know about corn is that the inside of the stalks are really tasty. That’s where the corn gets it’s nutrients from. It also quenches your thirst.’


She goes into the kitchen where her mom is and lets her read it.



“K mom, I’m done now!”

“Let me see.” She says as April hands it over to her.

“Wow! You’re teacher is really going to like this!! It’s personalized and informative! Way to go sweetie. Now go show your dad.”

“Ok.” She says as she walks outside to the field.

“Hey dad… wanna see something?”

“Yeah sure. In a second though. Hold this post for me please.”

“Ok dad. Sure.” She says as she lays the paper down.


He tightens the wire around the post and wipes his brow.


“Ok, let’s see it.”


She picks the paper up off the ground and hands it to him to read and he is astonished by the work she put into it.


“That’s my girl!! Way to go! What did your mom say?”

“She said the teacher’s really gonna love it.”

“I think she will too.”

“Hey Dad, it’s almost time for dinner.”


He takes a glance at his watch.


“Oh my, gosh you’re right. Guess I lost track of the time. Well I’ll be in as soon as I put my tools away and wash up.”

“Ok. See ya inside.”

“What are we having?”

“Mashed potatoes, corn, and chicken.”

 “Oooo. Sounds good. K, I’ll be in, in a second.” He says as he walks to the shed. She walks back the several yards to the house followed by her dad 10 minutes later.

“Sorry Shelly. Hope it’s not too cold.”

“Nope. You’re just in time.”


He brings his nose to the plate full of yummy food.


“Yum, smells good!”

“Yeah dad. I agree. It does.”


They finish eating and April’s mom, Shelly takes the plates to wash them.


“So how was dinner?” Asked Shelly

In unison they say…”Great, we loved it.”


Later after dinner…


“Hey dad…? Can I watch some tv?”

“Yeah sure. It’s seven o clock, so you have until nine. Don’t forget to take your meds because I’m sure you don’t want another attack”

“K, thanks dad. I won’t.”


Day 2

The next day she goes to school. After beginning welding A with Mr. Jaspersen, Technical theater with Mr. Ross, Beginner’s art with Mr Winston, she goes to her last class with Mrs. Gardner. She hands her paper to the teacher.


“Wow April; I’m really impressed. Great work!! I never doubted you.”

“Wow, thanks Mrs. Gardner.”

“You’re welcome April.”




“Dr. Carshner line one. Dr. Carshner line one.”


The doctor walks over to a nearby phone and answers line one.



“Dr. Carshner?”

“Yes. Can I help you?”

“I need to come in for a quick check up.”

“Ok. Well… I have one pm open…How’s that?”

“That’s fine. Thanks.”



“So how was school?”

“School was great mom. Where’s dad?”

“In the shed welding or cutting something.”


She starts to walk outside


“But don’t go out there. I don’t want you to get hurt. Besides… your dad is working on a surprise for you.”

“Ok mom.


Her dad comes in 15 minutes later without her knowing.


“So can I see the surprise?”

“You certainly may.”


He goes in the bedroom and brings out a horseshoe coat rack with her name cut out with a plasma cutter.


“Oh cool Dad. I love it!! Thanks!

“You betcha. Anytime.” He says with a smile.

“So when’s dinner mom?”

“In two hours so around six.”

“What are we having?”

“Meatloaf and scalloped potatoes.”

“Oh yum.” Says Mason and April in unison.


A second later…


“So April, what did you learn in welding class with Mr. Jaspersen today?”

“Well, we learned to make tacks.”

“Did he teach you how to set up a welder?”

“Haven’t got that far yet.”

“Ok, I’ll take you out to the shed and you can show me on a quarter inch piece of steel.”

“Ok, sounds like fun.”


They walk the several yards out to the shed and her dad opens the door and walks over to the electrode case and pulls out a 6010 rod and puts it in the work lead for her.


“Do you know what 6010 means?”


“Well the 60 in 6010 means 60,000 lbs tensile strength per square inch. The 1 means it can run in all positions the last number has to do with flux composition, slag type, and power supply.”

“Wow! I didn’t know that.”

“Now I’m gonna make sure the ground clamp is connected to the work piece.” He says as she puts on the proper gear (Goggles, gloves, helmet, leathers, and proper shoes.

“Now… my head is a little bit bigger than yours, so I’ll adjust it for you. Say when.” He says as he reaches for the knob in the back and turns it.”

“When Dad.”

“OK, is it good N tight?”

“Yeah dad it’s fine.”

“Ok, let’s get started.”


He looks away as she strikes blindly at the piece of metal making contact with it. She holds the electrode to the piece of metal for 5 quick seconds. Her dad sees that she’s done and looks back.


“Wow! I’m impressed. Good job sweetie!” He says as he pats his daughter on the back.

“Wanna do more?”

“Sure dad; I’d love to.”


She does several more tacks and her mom walks out to tell she and her husband that it’s time for dinner.


“Hey April?”

 “Yeah Dad?”


She looks over to see her mom standing there


“Hey Mom!! So, what do you think?”


Her mom takes a step closer and says…


“Wow, I like it. You really work hard. You’re very persistent.”


“Yeah, I get it from you two.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” Says mom and dad together.

“Dinner’s ready.”

“K, mom… be right there…just gotta wash up first.”

“Ok. See ya inside.”


Her mom walks back to the house and her dad says…


“I have some alcohol wipes for you if you need ‘em.”

“Ok dad.”


She takes one of the wipes and starts wiping the dirt off her face and neck. She gets done using the wipes and says…


“Ok Dad, I’m done.”


She hands the wipes back to her dad and he tosses them in a waste basket.


“Score!! Ok, lets go back inside.”


On the way, Mason tells April how proud he is of her and how much he is looking forward to her graduating this year. The minute they go in, their senses are awakened by the wonderful scent that is Shelly’s cooking.


“Wow Mom! Smells wonderful in here.”

“Thanks April. So, did you get your work done.”

“Yeah Mom, we did.”


She sits them down and serves them a delicious meal.



“Yeah dad?”

“We forgot to say the prayer last night. You wanna do it now?”

“Sure dad! ‘Dear lord, thank you for the meal we’re about to receive. May it nourish our minds as well as our bodies. Amen.”

“Good job sweetie.”

“Thanks mom!”

“Ok, let’s eat.” Says dad. “I’m hungry.”


They eat the mouth watering meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. They finish and Shelly says…


“So how’d you two like it?”

“We loved it Mom! You did a great job.”

“Thanks. I liked it too.”


“Ok April, you’ve got an hour of tv time then it’s time for bed. Take your pills.”

“K Dad. I will.”



A voice comes over Dr. Carshner’s intercom and says…


“Dr. Carshner, your one o clock appointment is here.”

“Ok. Thanks Linda. Bring him in.”


The door begins to open and Carshner says….


“Oh, it’s you!! How’ve you been?”


“Ok, what am I seeing you for?”

“I have a spot on my right arm and I don’t know what it is.”


The doctor walks over and takes a look at his right arm and says…


“Looks like Melanoma. But I’ll take some skin scrapings and send it to the lab to make sure.”


The doctor takes a sanitized tool out, walks over and scrapes his arm.


“Ok, we’re done. Come back in two weeks to a month. Have a nice day.”

“You too doc. Bye.”


Day 3


“Rise and shine sleepy head.”


April groans and says….


“Ok Mom. I’ll try.”

“School starts in 2 hours so get up now so you can have breakfast with your dad and I.”

“Whose taking me today?”

“Your dad.”

“Ok, cool. I want him to meet my welding teacher.”


April gets ready, eats breakfast, and gets in the old beat up chevy with her dad. On the way she says…


“Dad do you wanna meet my teacher, Mr. Jaspersen?”

“Sure, why not; and while I’m at it, I can see where you work too.”

“Well right now, we’re in the middle of doing our finals, but you can look at all of the tools and the welding equipment.”



They finally get to Black Rock High School and April takes her dad to the shop. They get to the shop and April opens the door.


“Mr Jaspersen, are you here?...... He must be in his office. I’ll go see.”


She walks twenty feet to the office and knocks on the door. The door opens and Mr. Jaspersen is in the middle of grading weld tests.


“Hey Mr. Jaspersen! Are you busy?”

“Not terribly. Why?”

“I want you to meet my dad. He’s a welder too.”

“Ok where is he?”

“He’s right here.”


She points to her dad standing beside the door. Mr Jaspersen stands up and walks over to meet him.


“I’ve seen you around town before but I never got your name.”


Mason lifts his hand to greet him.


“My name is Mason… Nice to meet you.”


They get done shaking hands and Jaspersen says…


“My name is Stan. I never knew April was your daughter. She is a remarkable young woman. She works really hard and she’s very steadfast.”

“Thanks. I’m proud of her myself.”


They get done talking and Mason says to April…

“I’ll pick you up at twelve thirty

“Ok Dad. See ya later.”


Mason walks out the door and April says to her teacher…


“He’s the best dad anyone could ever ask for.”

“I bet. He’s a really nice guy. So did you learn anything new?”

“Yeah I did I learned that the 60 in 6010 means 60,000 lbs tensile strength per square inch. The 1 means it can run in all positions the last number has to do with flux composition, slag type, and power supply.”

“Wow! Did your dad teach you that?”

“Yeah. He’s a great teacher.”

“I bet he is.”


Just then… the first bell rings.


“I guess it’s time to start my class. Did you review your hand out?”

“No. I forgot to do that.”

“Well, I’ll give you another one and give you half an hour to study.”



He goes in his office and gets an extra copy and hands it to her. She reads it over. ‘The definition of AC/DC means alternating current and direct current…’


Half an hour later…

“Ok class, I trust you all had a chance to look the hand out over… now I want you to get out your pencils and start writing. If you need to go to Mrs. Reily’s class for extra help, you may.”


So April takes her paper and pencil and goes to the other class for help because of her disability. She struggles with Bipolar and has had some hard times dealing with it. She has had some battles with her family but in the end… that brought them closer together. She walks over to Mrs. Reily’s class and asks for help. The teacher welcomes her in and she gets the help she needs. The thing April likes most about this class room is that there is a sign on the door that says. ‘This is a ridicule free zone!!’


“So April, what do you need help with today.”

“Just my welding finals.”

“OK, let’s get started.”


She reads her the questions and eliminates two wrong answers.


Later on, she goes to Mr. Ross’ class.


“Now let’s talk theater. Can you tell me what a precineum arch is?”

“Yeah, we have one in the auditorium.”

“Right. Ok, let’s get started on the finals. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help when you need it.”

“I won’t.”


He hands her the test and she say’s…


“Do you mind if I go to Mrs. Reily’s class for help or hang out in the hall and do it? Sometimes it helps if I eliminate the distractions.”

“Sure. You can do that.”


So she goes out in the hall and does her best to remember. An hour and a half later, she hands it in and says…


“Ok, I did my best.”

“That’s all I want. I don’t expect everyone to be perfect and get every answer right; Just that you try.”

“Ok thanks. If you don’t mind, can I do some writing.”

“As long as it doesn’t disrupt my class.”

“It won’t… I promise.”


So she goes over to her seat and, sits down and starts writing analogies and descriptive stories. She looks over at the clock and notices it’s almost twelve thirty, so she picks up her things and heads for the door just as the bell rings. She walks to the parking lot and meets her dad, gets in the truck, and shuts the door.


“Hey Dad.”

“Hey April! So how was school?” He says as he starts the truck and drives back home.

“Good. I think I did really well on my tests today. Mr. Ross and Mr. Jaspersen were really helpful. So was Mrs. Reily.”

“Good I’m glad.”

“So what do you do tomorrow?”

“Well, tomorrow’s Friday so… I do art and creative writing.”

“That should be fun.”

“Yeah, I love both so it should be.”


Fifteen minutes later….


“Ok we’re home.”



They get out of the car and go in the house to see Shelly.

“Hey Mom, we’re home.”


They go in and find Shelly cleaning windows.


“Ok, so how was your day?”

“Good, I think I did well on my finals.”

“That’s good. Ok, I’m done now.”

“Looks good mom!”

“Thanks.” She said with a smile. “So how’s your dad? Did you two have a good ride?”

“He’s fine and yes we did.”

“Hey Shelly, I’m gonna go out to the shed. There’s a secret project I want to do.”


“Hey dad, can I help?”

“Only if you can keep a secret.”

“I can.”

“Ok, let’s go.”


They head out to the shed and on the way they talk about finals. Mason opens the shed door and says…


“Ok the surprise is for your mom.”

“What are you making?”

“It’s a horseshoe coat rack that will have I love you cut out with a plasma cutter.”

“Cool, I think she’s gonna love it.”


He reaches over and gets six used horseshoes and cuts three in half and saves the other halves for later. He takes a rod a piece of stainless steel and cuts the words out. He then welds the horseshoes to it with a miller (wire feed) welder. He then takes a 6010 rod and welds the half pieces on. His daughter watching in amazement.


“Wow dad. Looks fantastic.”

“Thanks.” He says as he dunks it in a watering trough. “Now we just need to sand blast it.”

“What does sand blasting do?”

“It takes all the rust away.”

“Oh, I see.”

“I think you better go get prepared for your finals now. You still have about an hour and a half.”

“Ok dad… see ya inside.”


She walks back to the house and goes in her room to find her study sheets. And two weeks later…


Day 17


“Mom, Dad… I got my finals back.”

“What did you get?” They say in unison.”

“C’s and B’s.”

“Wow, we’re so proud of you. Graduation is in a couple of weeks… We couldn’t be prouder.”

“Thanks dad. Next Friday is the rehearsal ceremony. Can you take me?”

“Sure. What time?”

“It’s at nine am. You want to watch us rehearse?”

“No, that’s ok. I think I’d rather watch the real thing.”


“So what are you going to do tomorrow.”

“Help you or mom with whatever you’re doing.”

“Ok, sounds good.”

“So what’s for dinner mom?”

“Meatloaf patties and baked beans. It’ll be ready in five minutes.”

“K mom. Dad, lets get washed up.”

“Ok April.”


One by one, they all wash their hands.


“Ok guys, time for dinner. Sit down and I’ll serve you.” She says as she puts the patties on the buns and scoops the beans out with a ladel.

“Ok dad, It’s your turn to say the prayer.”

“You’re right, it is. Ok. God, Thank you for this wonderful meal we are about to receive. I also pray that things go well for April’s graduation ceremony. Amen”

“Thanks Dad.”

“You’re welcome…Any time.”


So they eat the meal, April has her tv time, takes her pills and goes to bed. April wakes up at nine am, takes a shower, gets dressed, has breakfast with her family, and goes out with her dad to finish the fence he’s been working on for quite some time.


“Ok April. I want you to take the shovel and dig a hole about a foot deep and ten inches in diameter so we can put the post in and tamp the dirt down around it with the tamper.”

“Cool dad. I can do that.”


So she takes the shovel and starts digging just as her father explained.


“So dad, what do you think pastor Dan’s gonna talk about tomorrow?”


“I don’t know, but whatever it is I’m sure will be great.”


They continue their work and get done with the fence in about four hours taking breaks each half an hour.


“Ok kids, it’s time for lunch.” She says as she yells out from the house.

“Ok mom. We just have to finish this last post.”


Her dad takes the post, sets it in, and gets the level and sets it on top to make sure it’s straight so April can put the dirt back around it and tamp it down.


“Not bad for a days work, huh April?”

“Nope. Not bad.”



So they go back in the house and Shelly has chips and sandwiches prepared for them and they listen to klove and April's favorite song comes on.

“Oh mom, I love that song.”

“Yeah, me too.” She says as she takes a bite of her ham sandwich.


As they finish their lunch, they talk about how graduation is only a few days away next Monday.


“So what are you going to do after graduation?”

“I don’t know. Maybe work at the discount store. I have to make sure they know I can’t work TOO much because of my ssi; just enough to have a job and eventually a car. After that… my own house.”

“Good plans. Looks like you thought this through thoroughly.”

“Thanks Mom.”


They finish lunch and Shelly asks April to clean the house with her.


“Sure mom.”

“Ok guys… throw your paper plates in the garbage and wash your hands.”

“Ok hun.”


April is the first to wash her hands. Followed by her mom and dad.


“Ok Mom, I washed my hands. What do you want me to do now?”

“First, I want you to organize your desk, wash your clothes, vacuum, and make your bed. Next, I want you to clean the kitchen. I can help you do that and we can get it done faster. The bathroom and the living room need to be done too. I know it sounds like a lot but I’m sure you can handle it.”



So April does as she’s told and cleans her room. She finds one of her descriptive stories she thought she lost.


“Hey… I was looking for that. Cool, I found it.”


Her mom over hears her.


“Found what?”

“Nothing… just a story I wrote a long time ago.”

“Can I read it?”

“Sure mom.”


She hands it to her mom and lets her read.


‘Cool summer nights


Cool summer nights are the best nights of the year. There are so many stars, it's almost like God took an handful of sparkles and scattered them all over a beautifully-painted canvas. 
    The trees, strong and tall, are painted light blue by the moon. The tall dark green grass sways back and fourth in the wind like a church choir singing a beautiful melody.
    There are some things I can't even begin to describe; like how God can take a blank canvas and turn it into a magnificent painting of a wonderful landscape; How He can create something so beautiful and brilliant from nothing. He makes the summer night's air so cool and calming, it puts you into a peaceful meditating trance. Those moments allow you to forget about your problems and just breathe.’


“Wow April!! I’m impressed. I’m going to show your dad if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t.”

April finishes her room while Shelly goes to show Mason what April has written.

He looks it over and says…


“Wow!! That’s fantastic!! She did a great job.”

“That’s what I said. We have a gifted teen on our hands here!!”


They continue to talk about how proud they are of her. Meanwhile, April is done with her room and is starting to clean the kitchen. 


“So mom, what do you want me to start on now?”


“The dishes need to be done. All I want you to do is rinse the food off in the garbage dispose all, load them in the dishwasher, put soap in it and start it. Then I want you to clean the tile counters with a cap full of bleach in a sink full of water. Be sure to leave the windows open.”

“Ok mom.”


She walks over to the sink, starts rinsing off the dishes, and loads them into the dishwasher. After that she takes the soap and puts it in the slot. Once she does that, she connects it to the faucet and pushes the start button on the dish washer. She opens the window, finds some bleach and a scrub brush. She fills the sink up with water after she stops the drain and pours a cap full of bleach in the sink. She gets her scrub brush, dips it in, and starts scrubbing the counters. After the does that, she wipes the counters down with a white cloth.


“Ok mom. I’m done.”

“Let me see.” She says as she walks over. “Great job!! Looks super clean. Thanks.”

“Thanks mom! I’m glad you like it.” She says as she un stops the sink.


Later, she goes to clean the bathroom with bleach and a scrub brush.


“Remember, just a capful, and leave the window open.”

“I know mom.”




© 2009 Serenedy

Author's Note

I hope you like my book. Please do ignore the grammar problems.

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Added on May 21, 2009
Last Updated on May 26, 2009




I mostly write sayings and most of these sayings come directly from life experiance. Some come from questions I've had about something like comunication or life in general. I have a big heart. So big .. more..