#339 Leatherman

Hello again Maple People,

As you all know, I still live on and work at the same farm where I grew up. Over the years, we've grown about every crop on this place that's possible to grow here in Vermont. The job of a farmer is to be diversified, to know a little bit about everything…to apply the thing called "common sense" to all the little problems that come up. In my lifetime, I've welded, plumbed, wired, and "monkeyed" with carpentry. And believe me, finish carpentry skills are not in the typical farmer's "job description"!. As my cousin Robert Morse once said before he started employment on our farm: "I'll do a good job for you Burr but I'm only a 'calf pen' builder.". And he was right, anything wooden Robert put up was unsquare, unplumb, and full of slivers but, by God, it'd keep a calf in!

I'm not complaining but I've never had any tools to speak of. Even my house, although it looks OK from a distance, is a mismatch of rough boards tacked together by a primitive collection of hammers, pry bars, and, oh yes, a good sharp chainsaw. I built it on a shoestring when I was young, driven by calf pen common sense and a need to "nest".

Betsy and I have done well here in this old nest. We've raised two boys who are now men with their own homes. I approach geezerdom with few regrets but last Christmas brought to this approaching geezer, a lifetime piece de resistance. When my granddaughter handed me the small gift from under the tree, I felt some "tingling", as though my whole life was about to change. I tore off the wrapping paper and slowly opened the box. Suddenly, there in my hands was the thing that had been lacking in my life so far…my own Leatherman!

The Leatherman has it's own holster which I proudly wear it at my right hip, Matt Dillon style. Since Christmas Day, I've tackled thousands of jobs with it, and, yes, it includes a saw, harkening back to those nesting days! One recent morning, one side of my Dollar Store reading glasses fell off. Another thing I can say about old Vermont farmers, besides lacking carpentry skills, is that we get mighty attached to our Dollar Store reading glasses. I immediately panicked and started feeling my way from chair to chair until I located another pair of glasses. Upon close inspection, I found no breakage but that a tiny unscrewed screw was still miraculously there! Faster than a speeding bullet I went into LEATHERMAN mode. I grabbed the amazing tool from its holster and unhinged it to find that yes, indeed, it included a tiny screwdriver, perfect for fixing glasses frames!


No doubt the next time I board a commercial airliner, I'll have to leave my Leatherman behind. Although I've grown to accept it as another right hand and part of my very being, I do understand that "rules are rules". It'll be the airline's loss though for denying me that trusty tool…with it, I can build anything from calf pens to whole houses, and if something breaks down, I can fix it. Heck, with my Leatherman, I could even fix an ailing 737!

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