Early last spring, on a bright sunny
comfortable day I set off in pursuit of a stash of what was
described to me as user tools, the remnants of some type of
collection long broken up and picked over. What made this group of
tools unusual was their location. They were located in the basement
of a city courthouse not too far away, but far enough it required a
Having planned and anticipated this
little trip for a while, I left home with a lite heart and a
skeptical anticipation. Kissed SWMBO, rubbed the dog's head, and
said see ya' later. A quick stop to get some breakfast burritos,
hit the toll-way and set the cruise on 75, now it's time to eat...
Oh crap, I missed my turn... can't turn
around on the toll-way, okay we'll let George drive while I look at
the map. Yeah I can get off here and go cross-country on this two
lane, should be some pretty country. Spent a lazy hour or so
cruising the country road looking at the trees and thinking about
the chainsaw in the back of the truck, wish I was dragging my
Well, I come to the little town which
is my destination, and as with almost all small towns which have
survived, I enter to find myself amongst glitzy car dealerships and
McD's. So, I go looking for the old part of downtown where I'm sure
I'll find the courthouse in question.
Sure enough it is about where you would
expect to find a courthouse in a small town and looks like a
courthouse, columns, steps, etc. Being a small town I was able to
park right in front, "I must be on the front row"!!!
Climb down from the truck and look
around, the locals are all looking at me... they probably know
everyone in town, and I ain't one of them. Nod politely and mount
the steps to the front door and enter, silence... not a soul in
site. Wander thru the courthouse corridors, looking for someone.
Anyone...waaay in the back I come across a younger gentleman in his
early forties or so. I politely introduce myself and go on to
explain the purpose of my visit... to a blank stare.
Well, he proceeds to tell me he is the
city property manager and if there were tools in the basement, he
would know, and there were no tools. Seeing my look of utter
disappointment he offers to show me the basement, and just being
polite I agreed to go look with him. He might be wrong, you know.
A dark and dingy place full of the dreck of municipal office
furniture, but we poke around a minute or two and chit chat.
Finally I opine that there don't seem to be any tools there except
the mop and bucket and I'm really not interested in them. Which
elicits a small laugh from my host and we leave the basement. I
thank him for the tour and proceed toward the door, not nearly a
straight line task. On the way out I spy an elderly lady who may
have been there when the courthouse was built. Not willing to
totally give up hope, I stop and ask her if she's ever heard the
Disappointed, I head for home looking
for likely places to stop and look for tools. Found a few places
but no tools I was interested in. After about 4 hours on the road I
decided to stop at one of my favorite anteek mauls about 15 minutes
from my house.
Upon entering I was greeted by the lady
behind the counter with "oh, you're in luck, Bill brought in a few
tools this morning". Wandering, as fast as possible, back to Bill's
stall I look down to see a Stanley #8, be still my beating heart.
Picking it up, hummm heavy, I see it doesn't have a blade, and as I
take it apart I see the frog is broken-off near the top, But it's
the only #8 I've come across so it's deficiencies were noted with an
"I can fix that attitude". Black Krylon paintjob, tight knob with a
price tag tied to it, I haven't looked yet. Preferring to decide how
bad I want the plane before I see what he wants for it. Solid tote
with a good portion of the horn broken off, I can fix that. Okay
peek at the tag, it gonna be high because it's pre-lateral...$16!!!
Sold and I won't even quibble.
So, I didn't really go on a wild goose
chase, I just drove the long way around to get to one of my usual
haunts where I found a nice tool, for a decent price (the $40 in gas