The things which bring memories into your head, you know what I am saying, like the pair of wire cutters I found underneath our house, The lost tool that someone is missing from their tool pouch from years gone by, completely covered with rust and frozen into place by years of lying in one spot and not moving.
When I was first promoted to serviceman with the water company, I was told to go down and purchase whatever tools I needed to get my truck set up, shovels and rakes, and implements of destruction were bought, pipe wrenches, screwdrivers, crescents which were modified to fit the purposes of the job and a whole list of other tools to fill my toolbox, it felt really good to begin my new position with everything I needed to do a good job.
My job consisted of a whole lot more than just turning water off and on, there were days I was on the end of a shovel so to say digging up services to repair leaks, this turned into a never ending learning process, the heavy concrete meter boxes which housed the water meters is a tight place to be working, a leak in the bottom of these boxes sometimes caused me to completely dig up and remove the box to simply tighten a nut, none of the pipe wrenches or new tools I had would reach without first removing the box.
While unloading scrap meters and broken lids from my truck one day I found a pile of old shovels and a couple handmade wrenches rusted over lying on the scrap trailer, I looked the wrenches over thinking I could clean them up to display in my office, if I ever figured out what they were that is, one of the other servicemen laughed saying that someone wasted a lot of time on those worthless tools, I took them into the shop, placed them into the bead blaster and blasted all the rust away, the initials C.L.B. slowly appeared on the handles.
Clyde retired from the water company before I ever started, but he was a friend who I would stop and visit when I read meters, he always had a good story and tales of when he worked there, I took these tools over to his house and he smiled, I asked what in the hell are these Clyde and do you want them, he laughed and said “throw them in your toolbox, they will come in handy one day”, I took his advice and placed the funny looking tools with the twisted handles and thin odd angled jaws into my tool box among my other wrenches.
A few days later while working on a leak, I could see all I needed to do was tighten a nut at the bottom of a box, nothing I had would fit and to dig up this box would be an all day job, it was in the middle of a concrete driveway and a jackhammer would have to be called in, while staring into my toolbox trying to sort out my next move I grabbed one of Clyde’s tools, this funny looking tool almost fell right into place all by itself when I reached down into the box, I could turn the nut about a quarter of a turn and no more, but the angle of the other wrench turned it another quarter turn, and using the two tools together I got the job done with no digging.
When I retired I left these tools in my toolbox for the new serviceman, and after a new man was hired to take over my truck I stopped by the office to meet him one day, standing out by my old truck he gave me some of my personal items I had forgotten, he reached into the bed of the truck to retrieve the funny looking wrenches, saying what the hell are these Jimmy? I laughed and told him, “throw them in your toolbox, they will come in handy one day”, he grinned and said I’ll take your word on that and placed them into the same slot I had always kept them.
After a few days of soaking in a tub of WD-40 I gently tapped all of the rust I could remove from the old wire cutters, an hour I spent tapping and spraying, I almost got excited when I heard the grinding sound of the jaws starting to move, they are finally moving freely and the rust is slowly falling away, I think I’ll throw them into my toolbox because you never know they just may come in handy one day.