Archives For Stories from the past

Box Cutter

June 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

Last week we had a little project here on Blue Bird Lane. Nothing big or too involved but something I chose to do instead of calling to have Maintance do.  Simple and among the tools needed was my box cutter. I know where it’s at. It’s in the tool bucket. Not! I looked everywhere in my neatly organized garage but to no avail. The box cutter was not to be found! So to the displeasure of the boss I used a paring knife to do the project at hand and managed not to cut off a finger.

Box cutters are really neat tools. I suppose every tool box has one. A handy tool that is safe to use and always in need. At our former house I had three sets of tools. One set in the garage for projects in the house. One set in the barn to take care of the mowers and any other project outside. One set in the basement of the motor home so when we travelled I could fix or jury-rig anything that broke.

I had started a project at the house once and needed the box cutter and when I checked the garage I could not find it. I went to the barn in case I had carried it out there and forgot to bring it back to the house. No box cutter. I couldn’t remember ever having a box cutter in the motor home but I checked there also. No box cutter. Back to the garage and re-searched every nook and cranny and possible place the box cutter could be. No box cutter. Now the boss has always embarrassed me by being able to find things I could not find and as a last desperate attempt to find the damn thing I ask her to look. No box cutter to be found. For my pride I was glad she didn’t find it but I still needed the box cutter. Being a resourceful handy man I did the only sensible thing, I went to Dunn’s Hardware at Trafalgar and bought a box cutter came home and finished the project I had started.

The box cutter was put in my tool box in the garage where I would always know where it was. Sound good doesn’t it? A month or two later another project was started. Tools were gathered and the project began. About half way through the project I needed the box cutter. I know where it is. It’s in the second drawer of the tool box. Not! I put it there! I know I put it there! Where is the damn box cutter? I went to the barn. No box cutter! I checked the motor home. No box cutter! I returned to the garage and literally tore it apart. It is an understatement to say the air turned very dark blue! No box cutter! Not one no box cutter but two no box cutters! Being a resourceful person of some level of intelligence I solved my immediate problem of needing a box cutter by going to Dunn’s Hardware in Trafalgar, again, and buying a box cutter. It’s only five miles and won’t take too long I hope. Box cutters don’t cost much. When the project was completed the next day I gave the cutter to the boss and told her to put it somewhere where she would always know where it was.

When we decided to move here on the reservation, which was a major downsizing effort, lo and behold I found all three box cutters. The little bastards came crawling out of their hiding places and now I had them. Three in a row on the floor of the garage, I don’t need three box cutters. I probably don’t need any box cutter but I decided to keep one. It came in very handy when we were unpacking and getting the new house organized. So I decided that the box cutter would forever have its home in one of the pockets of the tool bucket. Everyone has a tool bucket. They are a very handy invention. It has resided in its little pocket for almost two years, I guess, until last week. It is gone! I needed it and it is gone!  I cannot find it. I have no idea where it might be. But, you know what? I am 71 years old and I don’t I need to buy another box cutter. So if I need one I sure hope the Maintance department has a bunch!

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley

Fence Posts

June 3, 2015 — Leave a comment

When I was about 9 years old my Great Grandmother came to live with us. Ruby is what we called her I guess because that was her name, Ruby Lowe Isley. She was my Great Grandfather’s second wife and had helped raise my dad and his brothers and sister after their mother died. She was a very quiet and simple lady who I never heard say a bad thing about anyone, even though some of her step-children treated her very badly after her husband died.

She was a neat lady who instilled in me my appreciation of the Shelbyville author Charles Major. She read the books “The Bears of Blue River” and “Uncle Tom Andy Bill” to me and my brother , great adventures for a young boy who would later trap just like the” boys” on the Brandywine Creek. She told how Mr. Isley, as she always referred to her husband, and his sons and son-in-laws farmed Charles Major’s farm. Part of the 1000 acres they farmed for many years. But, I transgress.

Ruby was extremely knowledgeable of the signs of the Zodiac as they apply to farming and gardening.  Always talking about how Mr. Isley would or would not do certain tasks on the farm unless the sign was right. I have kicked myself a thousand times for not paying attention as she explained the signs and what they meant and how they affected things. Oh what I’d give to have that knowledge now to pass on to others.  I need to say at this point that my dad did not believe in the signs! With that being said the story of the fence post begins.

When I was 12 we moved to a small farm outside of Greenwood. Dad and mom built a house and dad and I built a barn and that first fall we built fences around the barn lot and garden plot. We were setting post at the corner of the garden when Ruby came out and said matter of factly that the sign was wrong to be setting fence post and they would not stay in the ground. Dad nodded and said OK but we have to get this fence built because we are bringing some livestock home next week. Ruby returned to the house and Dad says, “That is old wives tales and folklore. But, tomp (that’s Hoosier speak for tamp) those post better than you ever have. I mean really tomp them.”  We finished the fence that day and the next week we got some sheep.

I don’t remember if we had a severe winter that year or not. All you remember from your childhood are the days you got to stay home from school because of the snow. You don’t remember the cold, bitter cold, drab, dreary, or windy days just the snow days.  Anyway, when winter was finally over and spring arrived with the thawing of the ground lo and behold; the corner post at the garden had come up out of the ground at least 8 inches. Ruby never said a word about those fence posts. Not even an “I told you so.”  I remember saying something to my dad about the post coming out of the ground and he said,” Well, you must not have tomped them hard enough. “Those posts remained for all to see for 2 or 3 years with no attempt to correct them. Finally it was decided we didn’t need to garden anymore and we took the fence down.

I have built a lot of fence since then and sometimes the post would rise up out of the ground over the first winter. I sure wish I had known what the proper sign was to “plant” fence post.

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley