Art’s Irksome Discovery
Art and his dad finally got back to the project of cleaning up the shop. Once back inside the shop Art saw his bloodstained work and recalled what is father had said to him earlier in the day about leaving the blood on the wood. And decided he would on the basis of his father’s advice.
As they worked they talked and laughed over the events of the day. They were picking up and rearranging tools and materials Art following his dad’s lead. Hank pulled the power cord for the saw out of the wall and instructed Art, “I always try to leave this unplugged when I’m not using it, so if you see it plugged in and I’m not here you’ll know I forgot and you can unplug it for me, OK?” Then Hank pointed to the blade of the power saw and said, “I always want to put the blade below the table when I’m not using it.” Art began to turn the crank and the blade slowly lowered down out of sight and as it did A little something on the far end of the saw table caught his attention. He looked closer and he realized he was looking at his amputated fingertip, which now resembled a white raisin with a fingernail sticking out of it.
Art made noise, somewhere between a shriek and a groan which immediately got his father’s attention. Hank looked at the curious piece of flesh and said “You don’t need this anymore.” Then with a flick of his finger launched that half-dried bit of Art’s fingertip right through the empty sash of the shop door window never to be seen again.
Hank turned his attention back to the door and began to clean the broken fragments of glass from the sash. He kept emphasizing the importance of getting the broken glass, old putty and glazing points cleaned out before they could put the new glass in.
Once all the glazing was removed Hank measured the opening with great care top and bottom and both ends and said, You can’t assume that parallel side are the same length you need to check. Measure twice and cut once!“ and he wrote down the measurement. He then asked Art to measure it. Art took the folding rule and held it carefully up to the window sash, ”Twenty four inches and hum, two of those little marks.“ His father asked, ”When we go to the hardware and ask for twenty-four inches and two of those ‘little marks’ what do you suppose we will get?“ Art was flustered, he did not know what those ‘little marks’ were properly called and he just counted them up and put them in his measurement. His father could see he had no answer nor did he know even that there was anything wrong in the way he had figured out to make it all work for him.
His father took the stub of a pencil and a piece of scrap lumber and sketched an enlarged view of a one inch portion of his ruler. Then he gave Art a quick lesson in fractions and how to ask for sized parts and pieces. ”You don’t want to be like Mrs. Von Reagan“, Hank said with a twinkle in his eye. Mrs. Von Reagan was in fact the Baroness Von Reagan a war refugee from Germany but hardly anyone called her Baroness except a few of the uppity ladies from the bridge club. Hank continued, ”She went into Western’s Hardware and asked for enough rope to go between two trees.“ Hank was all ‘grinned up’ with the humor of it and waited for Art to catch on. Art understood his dad had said something funny but was not sure what it was at first, then he got it and his father saw he understood he continued, ”Chet“ (Chet Dupont, a clerk in the store, famous for his club foot and irreverent humor) tried to sell her every piece of rope in the store. Hank and Art both broke into laughter and the measuring lesson stuck.