Hello #4: The Missionary Kid Syndrome

If you were a missionary kid in the 1950s, you probably lived with 50 gallon steel barrels (AKA “drums”) which shipped goods to your country of choice, and also served as storage containers in the face of bugs, humidity and other variables.

They were a wondrous supply of interesting things.  When Dad would say he needed to go look in a barrel, there were always curious eyes surrounding the enterprise.

The other facet of being a week away from the nearest hardware store was the propensity to save all sorts of odds and ends.  Empty powered milk cans were pressed into service and the workshop had cabinets with rows and rows of cans that had miscellaneous stuff in them.

It was a rule that you saved every bit of hardware, but not much of a rule about putting them in the right can at the end of a project when you just wanted to go play.

QC sagged quite frequently.

I was the OCD one of the bunch.  I spent many a happy afternoon dumping a can of “stuff” out in a tray, and sorting them into their appropriate categories.  Then I would break out a bunch of milk cans and joyfully create new sub categories for nuts, washers, screws, bolts and anything else that I happened to be sorting.

By the time I was a teenager, Dad had been collecting stuff for a decade and a half, and his shop was a formidable resource center for someone graced with Yankee ingenuity.  I cannot ever remember Dad or any of the rest of us fussing about the hardware store being in the city 200 miles away.

There was always a way to bubble gum something.  Someone would confidently go to the workshop, poke around and come back triumphantly with a collection of parts that would get us going again.

Thus, as an adult, a collection of spare parts was simultaneously an essential part of legitimacy in my manhood and pragmatically a safety net for all the vagaries of life — even though there is always a Home Depot nearby.

My rarely-used stash here at the office got looked at with smug superiority many times a month, as it collected dust.

Now You See It

Today it had to come down since the racks are coming down tomorrow.  I found a buyer for them, even though they are old fashioned.  They will be picked up on Monday.

But while I was packing them up, I was thinking ahead to South Carolina.

There is a two and a half car garage on the property.  (And honey, that half a car is a trick to drive, lemme tell you!) When I have arrived and the immediate drama subsides, I can cover the entire back wall with peg board, buy some more of those lovely little bottles and caps and keep on collecting hardware that I will only need access to once or twice a year, since BOTH Lowe’s and Home Depot are just a mile away!

Meanwhile, the rack is sadly lacking emotional content.

And Now You Don’t!

I am going to enjoy that garage, but since Megan is the slalom queen, she will have to drive that half a car.

Copyright August 2018 by Arthur Burk






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10 Responses to Hello #4: The Missionary Kid Syndrome

  1. Cynthia says:

    I have a suggestion . . . your tribe is all so excited about the move & your new space, and all the transitions. A lot of people are going to want to give you a gift for the new place. What if you all register somewhere? Maybe Lowes and/or Home Depot for land and tool stuff, and something like Target for inside decor. That would help it to be guided & give us a sense for what you actually NEED. Just a thought! Might protect you from receiving 35 little clunky bookshelf decorations, multiple prints of Kitty Hawk & the Wright brothers, and so on. You could post the registry places on Facebook & here, so everyone knows how to find out . . . . .

    • SLG says:

      Hmm . . . I would have to think about that. Never done it before, so would have to wrap my head around what we need, first. I will know more next week when I am on site again.

      • Cynthia says:

        That works!
        They make it pretty easy for you. They show you a catalog online, and you just tell them kind of generally what you need (lawn stuff), and they show you a plethora of things you never thought of, which relate to that arena. You just select what you like, and they keep the computerized record. Then people who go looking for gift ideas know what has already been purchased by checking the registry. Saves a lot of returns & wasted money.

        Megan would have fun looking at the interior decor stuff and choosing!

    • ghaggerty says:

      …or 40 sheets of pegboard? 🙂

  2. Ah yes….new space, new hardware, new fasteners of all types. Behold the Tetris Master of all things to be organized!
    I bless that design 😁

  3. Jim says:

    I get it. I have habit that my wife hates.when a stray washer I picked up in street falls into the bottom of the washer she tefuses to put them in the small contaoner near the dryer.jim.ba

  4. Jayney Librizzi says:

    I love that story I’m a sucker for bits of wood I may need, have been know to raid skips to salvage wood that could be used for something, but I think I should let you loose in my shed with some jars you’d have a ball!

  5. ghaggerty says:

    We could get lost swapping missionary barrel stories…and the myriad ways of making something out of [almost] nothing. I think there’s so much revelation of God’s nature wrapped in making something of significance out of others’ castaways…yet without the poverty mentality. As for the pegboard: It deserves a frame.

  6. Anne Krebs says:

    Now I know why my spirit man thought you were my twin

  7. Rob Isbister says:

    The red tool cabinet on the right shows you’re not casual!

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