Keep Your Hammer Clean

Grandpa Vincent Prater, Sons and Others at Ole Home Place 

This past Saturday we completed a project for one of our neighbors.  It was late when we finished and I was tired.  So, the tools did not get a proper cleaning.  Some were sprayed off with water and others left in a bucket to soak.  Sunday; Church and a day of relaxing came and went.  The tools were still uncleaned in the garage.  Monday morning arrived and the tile cutting wet saw, trowels and other tools with dried mastic and thin set, starred me in the face.  As I set to work scrapping and cleaning I was reminded of something my Grandpa used to say to me. 

“John, you need to always keep your tools clean.” 

He’d also through in a tag like; “Especially your hammer.”  It wasn’t until many years later as an adult that I understood his double meaning in those phrases.  Both of which were my very first lessons in work ethic and personal hygiene.

Continuing to work on cleaning my tools, I thought about other things I learned from my Grandpa.  When I was just 18 months old, my older sister and I went to live with our Grandparents.  Dad was in the Marine Corps and assigned to a deployed unit on the west coast.  Our Mother had been forced out of our lives - another story.  During the nearly two years that we lived on South Fork, in Eastern Kentucky I’m sure I acquired some of Grandpa’s idiosyncrasies.  Needless to say, he was a great influence in my life.  So much so, that throughout my childhood and teenage years I spent as much time as possible with him.

Preparation For Fishing Trip - Get bait by looking under rocks, rotted logs and turning over rich soil to find worms and crickets.  Seine for minnows in the branch/holler with a burlap sack and two sticks.

Patience – Spending the necessary time to untangle the fishing pole lines.  They had not been properly prepared for storage after the last fishing trip.  Then, waiting quietly for the red and white bobber to bounce, indicating an interested fish.

I could go on and on with the list of things learned from my Grandpa, but I think you get the point.  I thank God that I had this wonderful man in my life.  If not for him and for the things he taught me and shared with me, I know not where I would be today.


Mike said…
Grandpa took me and Uncle Ike to Panbowl to fish one day in the old red ford truck. I was about 4 years old or so. As we got out of the truck, Uncle Ike was carrying the tacklebox and I was holding Granpas hand. As we headed down the bank to a fishing spot, Uncle Ike tripped and started rolling down the bank. Grandpa went after him, trying to stop Uncle Ike from going in the lake. Grandpa and Uncle Ike tumbled down the bank and the tackle box flew open and they rolled for bit and came to stop just not a moment too soon. They didn’t hit the water but the tackle box gott’em both reall good, particularly the hooks. I found the pliers and helped them ‘dehook themselves, which seemed like hours in my young mind but I thought it was funny and fun at the same did Grandpa and Uncle Ike. We eventually found enough of the fishing gear and bait tand tried to catch a few, while I sipped on a RC cola that Grandpa brought from the store. I don’t think we caught anything that day but it was one of the best ever. That’s the good ol days that I remember and cherish.
Thanks for sharing that wonderful memory Mike. I know that all of us kids (grandchildren) have many awesome memories of our Grandparents and the lives we lived in shade of their grandness. Love ya' Cousin.

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