The joy of living in the country is that the men get to have neat toys. Henry has a complicated relationship with his Allis Chalmers tractor, which needs constant tinkering, born as it was in 1950, but it is good for working with a grandson and taking care of big chores.
But there is that tinkering. Lately Henry has been fighting with the carbeurator and the gas tank, both of which have rusty interiors. The rust flakes off and gets in the fuel line – and the tractor stops. On our most recent stop at Avery’s General Store Henry was explaining his most recent efforts to Dennis Avery, proprietor.
“So, then I took a chopstick to try and figure out how much gas was in the tank,” Henry said.
“That’s because a chopstick is just another word for dipstick?”
“Close enough, but the chopstick, wasn’t quite long enough so . . .”
“So you dropped it in the tank.” Dennis is very quick to understand these things.
“Yes, so now I have to get the chopstick out of the tank. What am I going to do?”
Now, Avery’s General Store sells everything we need: groceries, fabulous meats, hardware, paint, sturdy clothes, cooking gear, gardening gear, bird feeders, mops and brooms. We have tried to stump him, but he has picture hooks for moldings, pails big enough for sponge mops, old fashioned mouse traps, and the name of the paint shade on a neighbor’s admired lawn chairs. However, Dennis also has a twisted sense of humor and has suggested that he sells all kinds of other things that we had never heard of and that in fact do not exist. So I only laughed at his next response.
“Oh, that’s easy. You need a mechanic’s gripper.”
No joke. And the mechanic’s gripper was hanging right by the store’s front door. A quick purchase, a race up the hill to try out our new tool.
The mechanic’s gripper (which I found out our car mechanic does actually own, along with various sized magnets) is about 18 inches long with a plunger device on one end, that opens and shuts the gripper on the other end.
Peering into the gas tank with a flashlight AND the gripper.
I got it! Success! Avery’s came through again, and solved our problems.