Some years back when Dad was on his own for the first time in more than fifty years, I would drive to visit him and stay over. It was a long ride. My days off were Sunday and Monday, so every other week I would head out first thing Sunday and return to my own family later on Monday.
We’d usually spend part of Sunday watching a sporting event on TV, just visiting, and of course we’d also include a visit to see Mom, who was residing at a nearby nursing home. And, while there I always tried to take care of some chores for him, even if it was only cutting the grass, though sometimes it involved things like rebuilding the back steps.
There was a problem with the kitchen faucet and the replacement for this particular unit was expensive so my sister who lives about fifteen hundred miles away pitched in and bought him one and sent it. My job was to install it. No problem, shut off the water supply, loosen a few nuts remove the old, put in the new, tighten a few bolts, all done. Yeah, if that were the case this would be a very short story.
I arrived on Sunday morning. Dad and I wanted to watch the football game at 1pm, so I said “Why don’t I get that faucet fixed right away; then we can relax.” The nuts holding the faucet in place were no problem, but the nuts connected to the hot and cold water supply weren’t budging. We tried all sorts of solutions to loosen them, including “liquid wrench”. Seemed like the more I tried to loosen the nuts, the more they threatened to twist that pipe into a pretzel.
Resigned to nearly giving up or moving to more drastic measures, I told Dad there was plenty of room to use a small pipe cutter to cut the pipe above those fittings, then put a couple 3/8 compression nuts on and we’d be fine. So off to the hardware store we go!
Dad lived in a rural area so a trip to the hardware store took a few minutes. At the “Super Hardware Store”, we found a wall full of compression nuts, except the hook with the 3/8 inch was empty. When shopping at the “Giant Hardware Store” in the next town, we found, you guessed it, no 3/8 inch compression nuts! Nor were there any in the next three places we tried.
Finally, success in yet another town, at a little hole in the wall place, “Harry’s Hardware”! We walked in asked if they had any and the man said “Of course!”
Several hours had passed by now and we hurried back home. The game we wanted to see was already started, so I dove under the sink and in no time flat had that faucet working fine. We did see half the game. Though I don’t remember who won, I enjoyed hanging with Dad.
Sadly it was one of the last visits with Dad; he passed away a few months later. Being the nearest relative I traveled to his home with my wife and daughter every weekend in my trusty van, and we cleaned out and packed up Mom and Dad’s possessions and brought vanloads of memories home.
On one such trip, I was packing in the laundry room while my wife and daughter were doing the same in other rooms. They suddenly heard me start laughing; in fact, I laughed so hard that tears were literally running down my cheeks. Finally, they calmed me down enough to ask “What was so funny?” All I could do was show them what I was holding; a cellophane bag with about fifty 3/8 inch compression nuts!