Sunday, July 3, 2011

Axe to Grind

Sweetie came in from work the other day with a Cheshire Cat grin and said, "I pulled off a good one today!"

When he does that, it's time to sit down and listen to a story, and this was a cute one.

His boss, a man in his mid-70s, sends my Sweetie on some crazy assignments sometimes. He has had to track down the very last pen that matched a set of Cross Pens that were no longer made, and he found it, in a remote Mercantile store in the Northwest Territory of Canada, of all places. Another time, it was the last replacement barrel for a no longer made model of antique shotgun, and he located one in a factory in Italy that was closing, selling off the last of its inventory.

So when The Boss Man came in with an axe head that looked like it could have been sized for the Grim Reaper, covered with rust, Sweetie just asked, "What now, Boss?"

Turns out The Boss Man's daddy used to use this monstrosity, with its 10-inch cutting edge, to split wood for a specific purpose when making barrels. The Boss Man remembered his daddy showing it to him when he was around 4 years old, and knew that his daddy had lost it in the woods on their farm property not too long after.

Then, the other day, The Boss Man was driving across the land on his 4 wheeler when the tires kicked something up out of the dirt, and there was the axe head, covered in rust, the wooden handle long since rotted away.

"Here, see what you can do about restoring this," The Boss Man said. Sweetie took the 8-lb hunk of pitted, rusty metal, and set out to his favorite haunt, the local hardware store.

The big chains may have their strong points, but for some guys, and Sweetie is one, no place on earth beats the local hardware store. He went in to K's place and set the blade on the counter, where Mr. K set eyes on it and said, "What do you want me to do with that!"

Sweetie said, "How about put it in a vise, use an electric metal grinder to get the rust off, sharpen it, tape off the sharp edge and blacken the rest of it, then put on a handle?"

Mr. K and his crew, eyes wide, thought about that for a minute and then Mr. K said, "Yep, that'd work!" in his slow drawl.

Sweetie then left to make the building's bank deposits, and when he got back, the axe was restored. Or should we now say, The Axe? He paid the dealer and headed back to the barn, to use his own words.

When he got back to the building, Sweetie walked in to the Bean Counter's office, where The Boss Man was talking to her about some expense sheet or other. He held up the bank deposit slip and The Axe. The Bean Counter gasped and asked, "What in the world?" with a look of astonishment on her face. Sweetie deadpanned, "They didn't give me any trouble at the bank" and handed her the slips, and The Boss Man The Axe, and walked out.

Score one more for Sweetie.


Today is

Air Conditioning Appreciation Days begin (around here, they last until Thanksgiving!)

Build a Scarecrow Day -- to keep those gardens that are now growing like crazy safe

Cherokee Green Corn Dance -- honoring maize goddess Selu with thanksgiving for the maize harvest

Compliment Your Mirror Day

Disobedience Day -- internet generated, but if you have a bone to pick, use your civil disobedience today to let it be known!

Dog Days of Summer begin (according to the almanac, but not in all cultures)

Eat Beans Day -- bring the humble legume up to main dish status!

Emancipation Day -- U.S. Virgin Islands

Fiesta del Fuego -- Santiago, Cuba (festival of fire, through the 9th)

Independence Day -- Algeria; Belarus

National Chocolate Wafer Day

Stay Out of the Sun Day

St. Thomas the Apostle's Day (patron of architects, builders, carpenters, construction workers, East Indies, India, masons, Pakistan, surveyors; against blindness, doubt)

Women's Day -- Myanmar


Anniversaries Today

Idaho becomes the 43rd US State, 1890


Birthdays Today

Tom Cruise, 1962
Montel Williams, 1956
Alan Autry, 1952
Dave Barry, 1947
Tom Stoppard, 1937
Pete Fountain, 1930
Ken Russell, 1927
Franz Kafka, 1883
George M. Cohan, 1878


Today in History

Hugh Capet is crowned King of France, the first of the Capetian dynasty that would rule France till the French Revolution in 1792, 987
Qu├ębec City is founded by Samuel de Champlain, 1608
Pitcairn Island is discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on an expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret, 1767
Norway's oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, is founded and the first edition is published, 1767
George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1775
The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opens, 1819
The last pair of Great Auks is killed, 1844
Slaves are freed in the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten in the culmination of a year-long plot by enslaved Africans, 1848
Dow Jones and Company publishes its first stock average, 1884
Karl Benz officially unveils the Benz Patent Motorwagen – the first purpose-built automobile, 1886
The New York Tribune becomes the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand, 1886
World speed record for a steam railway locomotive is set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h), 1938
The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurs when the Soviet N1 rocket explodes and subsequently destroys its launchpad, 1969
First mention in the New York Times of a disease that would later be called AIDS, 1981
Stone of Scone is returned to Scotland, 1996
Asteroid 2004 XP14 flies within 432,308 kilometres (268,624 mi) of Earth, 2006

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