Sunday, October 11, 2015

Door Holders: Tony Stoddard

"You're running a little behind on this door holder thing..."

My mom, a few days ago.

She's right; I've been busy, and choosing to do other things. But I have more people to tell you about, so here's the next one in the series.


This guy.

I could probably fill a book with all the ways that he has changed my life. It could get all cheesy up in here. But to focus on how he has held the door open for me in a very specific way, let me tell you about what we did today.

We spontaneously decided to close the music store today. Apologizing for any inconvenience, we realized that it had been about six weeks since Tony had a single day off. He's been going non-stop, seven days a week - working the store Monday through Saturday, and serving at church pretty much every Sunday. He never stops, always busy will some sort of project, along with work and home maintenance stuff.

So today was the day. We decided to work together, and so we did; together, we moved a big pile of dirt to fill in the sides of a newly-poured concrete slab (skateboarding son is quite happy). We cleared out a bunch of stuff in the yard. We did about 80% of a needed repair on a broken outdoor lamp. We hacked weeds and moved lawnmowers and hauled gravel and all sorts of stuff.

Tony's one of those guys who knows stuff. You know the kind; if something breaks, they know how to fix it. If you're building something, he knows how it should be done. We laugh, sometimes; he says I'm not good with the relational stuff. I need you to help me with that. And it's true; and I do. But pretty much everything else in the world? 

He knows.

Water stops working? Ceiling fan too noisy? Roof leaks? Car falling apart? Pipes sluggish? Printer dead? Video camera stuck?

The man can do anything. Anything.

So today, as we worked together, I helped him do some of those things, and - like he always does - he held the door open for me, patiently and graciously, and showed me the right way.

We moved load after load of dirt, added some gravel and then he said, Let's tamp this down. You get in the Suburban....

And he coached me, like the guy guiding the planes at the airport, and I drove back and forth and back and forth until we got those narrow rows of dirt put into place.



We worked on the yard lamp, taking it apart bolt by bolt and figuring out the problem. Before we unscrewed the bottom cap, he pulled out his pen knife. You need a witness mark...see here? Notch it here and here so we know how to put it back together.

We mixed epoxy and I help the lamp while he glued; he talked about the process the entire way, making sure I knew exactly what he was doing.

I thought about him all afternoon, about the things that he's taught me to do. One of our best dates was the night we installed a water filter under my old house.

Right now, he's down in the basement; sounds like he's teaching himself to play the violin. 

Tony is a rare breed of man these days. A friend told me that when my son David was hanging at her house with a couple other kids, they needed to do some work. The other boys gave a half-hearted effort; David grabbed the tools, jumped in and did it. She praised him, and he said something like, "You live with Tony...you learn things..."

If you're fortunate enough to be around him for any length of time, he'll teach you. He'll be patient and kind and gracious, and at times you'll wish he would just hurry up and quit over-explaining, but he's going to take his time and teach you. 

Tony is the best kind of door holder, because what you'll learn from him sticks forever, and it will serve you well, all the days of your life.

He's been the best for me. 

Last night after a church gathering, I gave him a hug as we prepared to load up our separate gear in our separate cars and head home. One of our friends watched him as he walked away.

"You're a lucky woman, Beth."

Don't I know it.


2 comments:

Brandee Shafer said...

I'm glad to have met him at last. I've always thought that he and Jim would really like one another. They seem to have the fixing thing in common. Sounds like your guy has more patience, though - ha!

Susan Lloyd said...

I remember when...so glad ya'll are finally together, so happy for ya'll. oh, and i want to be a door
holder for someone one day too!