As soon as Tom started working here at Grand Portage, the Rangers discovered he was good at solving problems. Ranger Carl, in particular, gave Tom lots of odd jobs that involved solving problems. one example of that problem solving was repairing the rocking horse.
The rocking horse was built years ago by Ranger Carl for use on the playground at Rendezvous. Kids of all sizes rode this little rocking horse until it was a frail elder. Last year Ranger Carl put the rocking horse away because he was afraid someone would ride on it, break it, and get hurt. Tom was given the important assignment of repairing the rocking horse.
Tom studied the rocking horse, deciding what it needed. Then one day when we weren’t working, he loaded it into the truck with some spare parts and took it home. He invited Johnny to help with the repairs and the two men screwed and glued, repairing the little rocking horse until it was sturdy enough to ride again. Val, being the smallest of the four of us, tried riding it. She started by sitting on it gingerly, then gave a more enthusiastic “yahoo” and headed off into the sunset.
Ranger Carl gave the little rocking horse the seal of approval. Tom made a few cosmetic fixes by putting wax over the screws so they couldn’t be seen. Then the little guy headed for Rendezvous where he was as big a hit as ever. Whenever we walked through the historic encampment, there were children riding him.
Tom enjoys solving unusual problems and repairing the rocking horse was a relatively easy challenge. But it was also a challenge that brought joy to Tom and Johnny as they made the repairs and to the many children who rode it at Rendezvous. And Ranger Carl appreciated having it repaired without having to do it himself.