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My creativity stops at computer keyboard

The past few Christmas seasons, my co-worker Trisha has roped me into “arts and crafts” to make unique gifts for our co-workers.
I’m a very reluctant participant. If she didn’t also offer me wine and some of her “magic” cookies (which her son claims not only taste good but have healing powers), I’d probably bow out.
I’m just not good at crafts. There is something lacking in my genes that causes me to spill rubber cement, glue my fingers together, end up with big balls of crinkled paper and tape, and generally just make a mess of things.
I obviously did not pick up any skills during art classes in elementary school. One of my teachers sent a note home to my mother suggesting that she send along one of my dad’s old long-sleeve shirts that I could wear backwards as a smock. While other kids could paint, color and glue without spilling a drop, I usually ended up covered head-to-toe with whatever medium we were working with on that particular day.
The artwork I took home was usually displayed on the refrigerator for a day or so, then discreetly disappeared.
When I was in junior high school, I was fortunate enough to have an art teacher who decided to start me on simple projects: he handed me a piece of paper and a pencil and told me to draw something. I actually became fairly adept at that: I graduated to pastel chalk and pen-and-ink drawings.
But if I had to work with anything else, I was a disaster.
I worked at the Sears store in Rochester during my college years. One Christmas season, the human resources person dragged me to the customer service department to help with custom gift wrapping. I protested mightily, but she insisted that “any idiot” could wrap a gift.
Apparently, I’m not “any idiot.” Within 15 minutes I was back in the receiving department putting price tags on socket sets. And the price tags were crooked.
I’ve always believed that if I was ever in a talent show, the audience would watch as I sat at a computer keyboard and wrote something.
I did have one success as a child:
In second grade, our teacher gave us each a baby food jar, some clear plastic wrap, water, ribbon and rubber cement.
As soon as I saw the water and rubber cement, I foresaw a disaster in my near future.
But that didn’t happen.
We placed a plastic rose into each baby jar, scrunched up some plastic wrap to look like ice, filled the jar with water and put the lid on. Then we glued a strip of ribbon around the cap. Turn the whole thing over, and it looked like a globe with a frozen rose in it.
It was the one thing my mother kept forever. I made it as a second grader at the Hills-Beaver Creek School. My family was living with my grandmother in Hills while my father was stationed on Guam. We were expecting to join him as soon as housing became available.
That rose in a jar traveled with my mother to Guam, to Yuma, Ariz., to Providence, R.I., and finally ended up in Pine Island. It was always centered on her dresser. After she passed away, it was the one thing I claimed for myself, and it now sits on my own dresser.
But back to Trisha and me and our “arts and crafts.”
Sunday afternoon, we sat at her kitchen table pondering how to paint a straight stripe on a curved surface. Trisha put her creative brain cells to work; I pulled out my smart phone and Googled “how to paint a straight stripe on a curved surface without smearing or dripping paint, knocking over my glass of wine, dropping my cookie or having to call the rescue squad.”
As we got a few gifts finished, I was once again stunned at how well they turned out, just as I was stunned with how well my mother’s rose in a jar  turned out.
“That’s because they’re made with love,” Trisha said.
I believe she was joking, but I think there is some truth in that. You tend to make a better effort for those you love and respect. I’m sure that when our second-grade teacher announced that we were making our roses for our mothers, something clicked in my brain and brought out my latent crafting talents.
The proof of that is sitting on my dresser.