My sister had hand surgery a couple weeks ago and as her hand was put in a cast to heal, she has had to do everything with her remaining good hand.
Most of the time she has been able to get what she needs done, done. But one job that requires two hands is tying her shoes.
Over the weekend she drove to our home and brought along two pairs of shoes and shoe laces that do not require tying.
The hard part is that installing the show laces requires two good hands. That was my job.
My fingers did not have enough strength on the last step of my assignment so I made a trip to the tool drawer for a pair of pliers.
As I returned, I held the pliers up to my sister and said, “You can’t look at these without thinking about our dad.”
She knew what I meant.
Our dad wore bib overalls probably all or part of every day throughout his life. On the right side of his pants leg between his hip and knee was his pliers’ pocket.
I am sure there are many pairs of pliers scattered on the fields of the farm where we grew up that fell out of his pocket because he always seemed to have a few new ones on hand to replace those lost pliers.
As soon as he discovered that his pliers were missing, there was a new pair in his overall pocket as quickly as he could get to the new ones waiting in a box.
His pliers were used for almost anything and everything from machinery to livestock to inside the house.
His pliers held bolts, repaired garden hoses, cut baling wire, pounded anything that needed pounding, held things that were too hot, too small or in a bad place, and either bent or straightened what needed to be bent or straightened.
In general, his pliers became his thumb and index finger when he needed more strength or to keep something at a safe distance.
Actually, they are known as slip joint pliers because they have a slot where the halves are attached to allow the pliers to wrap the jaws around larger objects.
Since I wear jeans and not bibs, there was a time I wore a holster that held my pliers, but I got tired of the handles poking me where my flab hung over my belt.
It was easier to get rid of the pliers than the flab so they took their place in the toolbox.
The next day my wife had the television on an early morning news and talk show that she likes to watch as we sip our coffee and have breakfast.
During this time, much of the talk comes from my direction as I criticize their news coverage and guests. I find much of the show superficial with news that merely skims the surface with guests of little or no interest.
On that morning they devoted several minutes to a line of high-heeled shoes being introduced by a well-known actress. It showed one of female news people looking at a couple shelves where the shoes were on display while she gave her approval with much oohing and ahhing.
About this time I was complaining about how this was another piece of drivel being called news that was of no importance except to a very few people.
The actress had put her initial on each shoe in the area where the arch of the wearer’s foot would be.
The actress’ name is Sarah Jessica Parker and her initials SJP identified these shoes as her design.
Seeing SJP would be of no consequence to me, no matter what they appeared on, unless they stood for slip joint pliers.
To each, his own.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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