Tales from the Cabin
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MY Hardware Store

Where everyone knows my name
By Andy Nygren
Published: October 1, 2006
The hardware store is a natural gathering place. Here, the author munches on popcorn as he chats with year-round neighbor, Bill.
Photo by Cabin Life, Cabin Living
Heading for the lake, I know we need a new garden hose, new shower head, a replacement hammer for the one I dropped into 30 feet of water at the end of the season while I was messing around on the pontoon boat, some rags and some TP. The exit to the Big Box Store is coming up. It’s an easy stop, but I continue on. There are better places to be.
I get to the Lake House and do a quick check of things. The automatic dog-watering dish has a broken fitting, so I take it off. I survey the garden hose. Hmmm, maybe if I got one of those Y-shaped things for the spigot so I can attach two hoses …
List is made. It’s only two and a half miles to My Hardware Store. So I go.
I walk into the store and am immediately greeted by Sherie. Then by David. And then by Mike and by Donna. They not only know my name, they know who I am. “Have some popcorn?” Of course I take some.  
“I need one of those Y-shaped things you put on the outdoor spiggot so you can turn on and off the hoses attached to it,” I tell Sherie. While we head for aisle 8, Sherie asks about the grandchildren and I show her some pictures on the i-Pod. I melt every time I look at them. I ask about her family and what’s going on with them. We find the Y thing right away.
Next, I show her the dog dish thing I carried in, and she finds the right fittings to make it perfect. I tell her I can find the rest of the things on my list by myself.  
It takes awhile to figure out if I need one hose or two hoses – or three – and how long they should be. There are plenty of choices, but I settle on one 50-foot hose and two 25-foot hoses.
Then it’s on to hammers. I want to buy a really good hammer, but hey, what if I end up dropping this one in the lake? Then again, I’ll probably have this one forever. I think about it some more and get the best one.  
The shower head is easier. We just need a replacement. My Hardware Store has everything I need. I even check out the new designs in barbeque grills, but that will be for another day.
Mike comes over and visits for a bit. I find out his son, Steve, is going to State University next year where he’ll be playing hockey. “Stonewall Steve,” he’s called on the ice. We talk about hockey for awhile. Mike will be coaching Squirts next year. His daughter, Sarah, is on the team. “Sniper Sarah?” Sounds good.
Bill, my year-round lake neighbor, comes into the store and we talk for awhile about the installation progress of the high-speed wireless Internet that he is coordinating. He tells me it might just reach us at the lake if we can get an open view of the top of the water tower. Bill teaches at the local high school; I was also a teacher, so we chat about what is new in education and complain a bit about “No Child Left Behind.” We touch on upcoming referendums and agree that it will be a close vote in both our communities.
After the weekend, on my way back to the City House, I stop at the Big Box Store to get a few light bulbs. It’s right off the exit, easy to get to, easy to park – but almost a block to the front doors. There are a couple of store employees, but I don’t get their attention. I finally find the light bulbs I need and get checked out. The checkout clerk is friendly enough, but she doesn’t ask about the grandchildren. Here, at the Big Box Store, I could have found all the items I needed for the Lake House, but not everything I needed.
At My Hardware Store I was given much more. Yup, My Hardware store had everything I needed. It was a much better place to be. I will bypass the Big Box Store again next weekend for a place where everybody knows my name. 

Andy Nygren allots at least 90 minutes for a hardware store trip: 10 minutes to find the item, 80 minutes to visit.
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