Not long ago my mom began asking my brother and sister and me about what we would want from among their belongings. Being somewhat sentimental, I could have said “anything and everything.” Instead, I told them of one thing I wanted; Something, I am sure, no one else would have desired. If there would be an estate sale it would be one of those items still hanging around when everything was reduced 75%,and even then would probably only be taken as a container to carry other dusty treasures.
My dad’s old Paint Bucket has always been a fixture wherever his tools were kept. I don’t know when he first took possession of the Bucket. It may have been a gift from his dad. Perhaps he had bought it at a hardware store in West End from the money he made while working at the Godwin Radio Company. I don’t know. What I do know is that this Bucket was his before he married my mom, his bride of 53+ years.
Dad was a printer, not a painter. Painting, however, seemed to follow him wherever we lived and wherever he went. Therefore, this old Paint Bucket has the colors and stains of my life growing up as the son of Jack and Bonnie Bruce. My dad wasn’t a professional painter. He was a do-it-yourself and do-it-for others painter—after hours or on weekends and days off.
The Paint Bucket is now layered with coats and drips of paint accumulated over 60 years. That Paint Bucket once held the paint that covered the hallways, living room and bedrooms of the little pink-bricked house that sat along Scenic View Drive above Eastwood Mall in Birmingham. I’m sure the gray paint of the front porch, where mom once killed a black snake with my toy hoe, also once filled the bottom of that Bucket.
When we moved to Belview Heights in Ensley, the Bucket went with us. Dad painted the white sculptured walls of the living room and den where mom entertained so many. Dad put the Bucket into action when he