A building project (for those of us who are carpenterially challenged) can be a confusing nightmare of little whatchits we never learned the name of and have no idea how to use.
Oh, if we need a two by four that’s eight feet long, we’re on pretty safe ground and can head on over to MundoSlab, the building center that dedicates about half an acre to just tar paper. It’s fun going over there just to see what the new foreign doo-dads are for construction this month, and you never know when you’ll find something you can’t live without. You can buy all the stuff in there from either the kid who mowed your lawn up until a month ago, or from that nice girl your boy used to take to the movies.
But when the real tough parts of a project come along, you know, things that involve plumbing or wiring, there’s only one place to go … the surviving old-fashioned hardware store. MundoSlab coming in sure cut down on the number of old-fashioned hardware stores, but there’s always one in every town that survives, and for a good reason.
They have gray-haired guys standing just inside the door to help you find just what you need, even if you don’t know what it’s called and have no clue how to install it, or even if anyone’s invented something to fix this particular problem.
I walked in the hardware store the other day, and a guy with plenty of gray came over and asked if he could help.
“Well,” I said. “I have a float thingie on the horse trough that broke. It’s that little doo-trammy that’s kinda copper-colored and fits on top of the whiz-gidget.”
Without breaking stride, he looked at me and said, “Right-hand threads, or will you need an adaptor?”
Let’s see MundoSlab top that.
Slim Randles, based in Albuquerque, N.M., was sports editor of the Mountain Democrat in 1964.