I believe I can safely say that every home has a junk drawer and quite possibly more than one junk drawer.
The junk drawer is that spot located in an out-of-the-way part of a cabinet or counter, but still easily accessible.
It contains those items that probably are not that useful on a daily basis anymore, but we are not ready to throw away because there is probably some useful purpose in them someday.
So, the junk drawer holds the odd screws, nails, tape that still has a few inches left, electrical adapters for the three prong plug that can mate with a two prong outlet, and other small objects that were part of a set, but who knows where the rest of the set went.
It is the place we go to when we need some small item in a hurry and hope there is one in the drawer or something close to it that we can make work.
Every few years we look way in the back or on the very bottom of the junk drawer in search of something and find something else, but not what we are looking for.
Then we say, “So, that’s where that went.”
It is the back and bottom of the junk drawer where the real treasures are.
My junk drawer has two objects that look like they belong there, but have not been relegated to the classification of mere junk.
One is a small, claw hammer, small enough to be called a tack hammer, with a red hammer head and tan chipped handle.
The other item is a six-inch framing square that would fit in the palm of your hand, made of stamped aluminum.
Stamped in the square is a logo with the words, “Happi-Time” and under it “Sears Roebuck & Co.” A decal on the hammer says the same.
Because of their small size neither is used very often, but they have a place of honor, even in the junk drawer.
Way back in kindergarten we drew names at Christmas for the gift exchange.
I don’t remember whose name I got, but my classmate Lynn got my name.
I remember this because just days before the gift exchange Lynn told me he had my name and he was so excited about what he was giving me, he had to tell me what it was.
It was a tool set.
I got even more excited about receiving Lynn’s gift as my mind jumped ahead to me having my very own set of tools.
I visioned a tool box full of everything I would need to build, repair, and best of all, help my dad on the farm.
What a great gift. I could hardly wait until we opened them at our kindergarten Christmas party.
Finally the day arrived and I had Lynn’s gift in my hands.
But, wait a minute. This is too small to be a tool box containing wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, and everything else I had imagined.
It was also way too light.
I opened Lynn’s much-anticipated present and in front was a hammer, square, level, and, I believe, a flat-bladed screwdriver, all attached to a piece of cardboard.
Is this all? What a letdown. How can I do anything with these?
I mustered up enough courage to thank Lynn for the gift and tried not to show my disappointment.
I brought them home and they went to a place with the rest of my toys, not to where my dad and I could work together on what was in need of repairing or building.
It is amazing that 60 years later, I still have the hammer and square. I haven’t seen the simple, single bubble level for years and the screwdriver is probably long gone.
The hammer rests in the drawer and is used for pounding nails in the wall when I have something to hang.
The square can be used to measure small items, but is in the drawer because it belongs with hammer.
Their sentimental value is greater than any use I would have for them as they remind me of a time when working alongside my dad on the farm was what I wanted to do and I was going to have the tools to do just that.
They are also a reminder that while life does have its disappointments, things can take on a new and better meaning with the passing of time.
I wonder what else is in that drawer. I’ll look way in the back.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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