Tuesday, November 20

Making the Old New

I confess: I hate to spend money! Especially when I don't have any. My inherited miserliness has been an inventor's tool through the years, and I've found ways to stretch the unstretchable and use that pioneer spirit to 'make do.'

I bought a wonderful, plastic leaf rake in about 1986. Man, it was the best --- wide and strong and just the right snap to it. But after years of abuse the poor friend started wearing out --- literally. The right angle tines got shorter and shorter. Some of them would completely break.

About two years ago I went rake shopping at Meek's Lumber. They were having a sale. Their sale rake was a cheap wire affair that felt weird. Their next in line had an extra thick handle with foam on it, but weighed about 5 pounds. I tried using it at the store and my arm started hurting! I left without a new rake. It was time to revitalize Ol' Betsy. The picture says it all. Nothing easier than using a fireplace lighter and pair of wide-grip pliers when the tine is toasted just right! The only problem is that this weakens the plastic at the bend and the ends may pop off if you catch them on something immovable. I lost three today raking backyard leaves. Oh, well, I saved $20, which is what I paid to get the oil changed in the car earlier this morning.

Another thing I'm revitalizing is the memory of my g-g-grandfather, William (Billy) Burk(e), who fought in the Civil War. The research has been challenging, but thanks to the Internet and Google Books, I'm collecting tons of info that can be used to put things in perspective and give a pretty accurate look at the life and times of a man I've never seen. Most Americans are clueless about early Irish Americans and the drama, sacrifice, and importance of those years. Not that an obscure memoir is going to make a difference. But who knows?

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