17 Art’s Gift For Mother -Otto Weston’s Hardware Store

Otto Weston’s Hardware Store

Art picked up the piece of wood he had been cutting when he cut the end of his finger off and practiced his new measuring skills. He was hoping that dad would decide that they should work on his project together.  Hank apparently took the hint but responded, “We will get the window repaired first then we can work on your project.” Art was mildly disappointed but comforted by his father’s consistency. Hank glanced at his watch and declared, “We have time to get the glass. Go get your money, and tell your mother where we are going.”

Art dashed into the house and up the stairs to his room.  He went to his dresser and tried to open his piggy bank but could not do it quickly because of his bandaged finger. As he tried to get it open he looked at the little piece of a Sears and Roebuck catalog that displayed the baseball glove that he was saving for. He knew that his foolishness had cost him what he had saved toward the glove but he was happy to know he was getting the whole unpleasant business finished.

Unable to open the bank he took it under his arm and headed down stairs as he passed the kitchen he told his mother where they were going.  She cautioned, “Supper will be ready in 30 minutes and we have company coming.”

Art continued without missing a step and climbed into the truck beside his father. Hank upon seeing the piggy bank said, “That’s quite the wallet you’ve got there.” Art explained, “I could not get it open with this bandage” as he held up his injured finger. Hank acknowledged and they drove silently to the hardware store.

As Hank and Art entered the store, they were greeted by nods and waves of clerks and owners. Leon Western, the owner’s son was behind the counter and ready to help. Hank slid the piece of paper onto the counter with the measurements for the glass written on it. As he did he said, “We need a piece of window glass.” Leon was a pear shaped man of about 30 and seemed to know how to do everything. He asked, “Is this new work or a repair?” as eyed the piggy bank. “Repair” said Hank. A knowing smile blossomed on his face as he pulled a piece of glass out of the bin. He measured it and found it large enough to get the required dimensions.

He laid the glass out on the countertop and measured very carefully. Then scored the glass with his cutter tapped the scored line and broke the edge off clean and straight. Leon measured the cut piece and checked the paper. He handed the rule to Hank who also measured it and checked the paper. Satisfied that they had the proper cut Leon wrapped the glass in brown paper and as he did so asked, “Will you need any putty, points, or paint?”  Hank responded, “Yes, give us the smallest can of glazing compound you have. It always dries out on the shelf before I can use it up.” Leon took a can off the shelf and with a pencil wrote the prices on the wrapping of the glass and added them up. He declared, “One dollar and 59 cents.” Art slid the piggy bank onto the counter. Leon glanced at it and then at Art’s bandaged finger. “What did you do?” Leon asked. Art replied, “I cut my finger off.”  Leon made sucking noise and an “Ouch!” Then asked,  “How did you do that?” Hank added, “He took the end of his finger off with the table saw, doing what he was told not to. At the same time Hank opened the piggy bank and shook the contents out on the counter. They slid the coins around on the counter until they had made up the $1.59, then Hank slid that amount toward Leon and the rest he pushed toward Art. Art fumbled left-handed to put the remaining sixty-one cents back in the bank.

Hank thanked Leon who winked at Art and said, ”Good luck Stumpy.“ Art smiled weakly in acknowledgement. They continued through the store and Hank nodded to Otto Western, Leon’s father, on the way out. They climbed into the truck and headed home. When they pulled into the driveway they saw that Victor’s car was already there disgorging its contents onto the driveway. Art could see that Ronny holding on to the back of his neck.


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