Sunday, November 23, 2008

Use the Right Tool, Boy!

It was one of those hot, sticky South Carolina July days and Mike Graybill and I were about 15 feet up a tree putting the finishing touches on our fort-in-the-sky. I was banging on a board with the heel of my hand, not really paying attention when the board slipped through the spot where I was trying to secure it and I followed it, dropping in a lump to the ground hollering with a great yelp as I hit.

Dad, who had just arrived home from work, parked the car and was ambling toward the house, tired as a farmer in October. He reacted quickly to my pain and as he picked me up he asked, "What were you doing?" I told him and he said, "You know, son, somebody went to a lot of trouble to invent the hammer so you wouldn't have to use your hand to do that job. Keep that in mind."

If Dad were still here, he'd be proud of me. That advice has stuck with me through the years and I was recently named the Belleville Road King of the Right Tool for the third consecutive autumn. Most of my votes come from the neighbors who know that when there's a job, Ol' Dan has the tool for it.

Just today, me 'n' my next door neighbor Dewey--best neighbor God ever put on earth--shared my 5.5 horsepower, deluxe edition leaf vacuum and blower (pictured above with its proud owner at the helm) to collect and grind up the entire 'hood's accumulated supply of maple, oak, crepe myrtle and dogwood leaves. Leaves gravitate to Dewey's and my yards (mostly mine) no matter what the neighbors do or don't do about raking.

I bought the vacuum--which seems to actually have five horses inside it, judging from its power--for $500 from Lowe's about three years ago and I've loved it since. Dewey and I made mulch out of those babies in about an hour. He piled his up around the fig tree he planted in the spring. I just spread mine over the back-to-nature back yard I'm creating. Native plants mostly.

Thanks Dad. The advice was good.

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