Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Taking a look around

That old red bench grinder was staring at me this morning. It stood out from all else as I worked, and I don't know why.

It has some history. Grandpa Joe's brother Bill (the one who tore the bumper off Joe's Packard) was a mechanic in Jacksonville, Illinois. He had his own garage. Uncle Bill had bought that grinder new in 1928. Joe bought it from him somewhere in the mid-1940s and its been in the old barn ever since.

The work bench it sits on for that matter did not start out as a workbench. It was a counter in a restaurant which sat across the street from St. Dominic's, Joe's church. When the restaurant owner remodeled Joe bought the old counter and put it in his first welding shop in 1945. The counter was ideal both for its long top surface and the shelving underneath. Bus trays and whatnot had been stored there in its earlier incarnation. Joe used it to store parts and tools.

We have a five foot high crescent wrench leaning against a wall, Lord knows why. I don't recall ever using it. Along another wall is an iron, five foot long what Joe called a 'breaker bar'. That we did use. It made one wonderful prying tool when you needed it; it offered a lot of leverage.

There's more. More than I remember this minute and more than I spied this morning. But it demonstrates that there's some history in the old barn, and even some of it inexplicable (a five foot wrench?). But maybe I'll use it someday.

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