Ernie the inventor, some 80 years old and a widower now, makes treasures out of forgotten scraps of stuff. “Come to my place”, he says, “I want to give you something.” So we go, my parents and sister, step-daughter, niece and I, prowling his porch and admiring shovels sprouting ears and eyes, iron twisted into shapes, bowls and plates fused together like faces of a flower. Niece Jen leaves with a sparkle of beads and wire wrapped around a vintage Coke bottle; a hummingbird feeder for her back yard. My mom carries a flower-face, my dad the metal rod to stand it in a garden. My sister chooses a small snowman crafted out of wire, parted from his parent who stands three feet high. And Grace and I take away a metal star, which we will hang at Christmas and twine with white lights, and think of Ernie the inventor, a generous soul, some 80 years old, who crafts with his hands and makes people smile.