Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday, 27 June 2008 - The hardware store

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the hardware store.

One of my childhood memories involves my dad's weekly visits to the local hardware store. He went every weekend unless he was deep sea fishing. I'm sure that the store clerks knew him very well, probably greeting him by first name.

"Good morning, A. Can I help you find something?"

"No thanks. I'm just browsing."

I imagine my dad walking slowly down the merchandise-packed aisles, glancing left then right at the cluttered displays and overflowing bins. He stops when he discovers something new or spies a coveted item. He removes the item from the hook or pulls it out of a wire basket, examines it carefully and reads the packaging before returning it to its proper spot. If he's really interested, he discusses the item's use and characteristics with a store clerk.

My dad didn't buy much unless he had a specific gardening or home improvement project in mind. Usually, he returned home, small paper bag in hand. My sisters and I would eagerly open the sack and gaze upon his prized finds - special seeds, assorted nails or odd sized nuts and bolts.

I accompanied my dad to the hardware store only once, probably after I begged him to take me (or maybe my mom asked him to take one of us with him). During that lone visit, I found hardware, gardening supplies and paint boring. I never asked to join him again.

Ironically, nowadays, when I run my own weekly errands, I routinely visit the library, natural food store, sewing and craft store, nursery and neighborhood Ace hardware store.

At Ace, I head straight to the gardening section to look at seeds, plants, fertilizer and soil or the kitchenware department to study the wall of cooking tools and gadgets.

When I enter the store, a cheerful clerk politely asks if I need help. Unless I have a specific project or item in mind, I echo my dad.

"No thanks. I'm just browsing."

For this blessing, I am grateful.


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