Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Toolbox...

I remember in the early days when life was still fresh and did not have the patina that is has today. There was one day when Beth and I were just married and had bought our first car together, a Volkswagen Jetta, with the factory mag wheels and all. We were so excited. One day Beth was driving a stretch of North Council where the shoulder had been washed out and drove off the edge of the road, bending the wheel enough to break the bead on the tire and having a flat. There was a flat spot on the rim and there was no way it would hold a tire, it was useless and when I checked on a replacement it was $100. To us, back in 1986, that was a lot of money. But the parts guy said there was a shop downtown that the guy might (might) be able to do something with it. I drove up to this hole in the wall tire repair garage, a dark grey painted cinder block building. He told me to leave it with him; it might break due to the type of metal but if he could fix it it was $25. I came back two hours later and it looked like a factory rim, no flat spot. I wanted to give the guy $100 just for fixing it but he just stared at me and shook his head.

My dad spent the time with me on the farm, letting me watch how to use tools, teaching me how to tell when a bolt I was torquing on with my youthful strength was tight enough and let me break a few bolts in learning "the touch". We moved to town and I worked on the cars, for the last two years of my High School I went the first half of the day to the Vo-Tech in Enid and spent three hours in the Auto Mechanics Shop. To me, at the time in my life, working on cars was my passion. My mom had preaching in mind for me but she blessed me one day by saying that if I wanted to be an auto mechanic then I could be God's auto mechanic just fine. All I had to do was say yes to His calling in whatever I was doing. As a kid, I would wonder why my dad could spend two hours in the tool section of Sears just looking at walls and shelves of tools without really every buying anything. I don't know that I ever saw him buy anything. Several years ago, he gave me his Craftsman toolbox full of the tools he had so carefully spent time collecting. I don't know how old they are but they have seen and heard quite a bit of knuckle-busting-name-calling-flying through the air in their lifetime. I cherish those tools, because they were given to me by dad and that they are so useful. Ever try to do something and you find you don't have the right tool? It's so frustrating and often you will spend way more time trying to do a job without the right tool than if you equipped your toolbox with what you need.

So that's life; you are taught, you study, you gain experience, you are given the tools that you need and once in a while you surprise someone (sometimes yourself) and use it to benefit others. How great is it to just smile and shake your head at their excitement? It's pretty great.

Brian Herrian <'((><

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