"Here," a booming voice said, "you're gonna need this to fix a bunch of stuff. Welcome to homeownership."
When we couldn't find the correct tool to adjust our daughter's bike seat, I handed my wife Big Red.
She looked at it and back at me with an expression that said this isn't what we need. We required an oversized Allen wrench, not an old screwdriver. I nodded in agreement.
"I don't know for sure this will fit," I answered. "But I do know Big Red always seems to be the tool for the job."
When I got home from work that night, she told me Big Red worked. And I beamed like a proud parent. "Of course it did," I replied.
Big Red is a flat-head screwdriver with a red handle. It is slightly bent from years of use, and the handle looks like a dog chewed on it. I'm not sure of its maker or how we acquired it. I just know that it is the most useful tool we own.
It's as if the the big Bob Vila in the sky dropped it from heaven when we bought our home. "Here," a booming voice said, "you're gonna need this to fix a bunch of stuff. Welcome to homeownership."
I try not to let possessions hold too much weight in my life. I just couldn't handle the stress. Instead, I resolved to always remember that the only things that matter in life are my wife, my children, my family and sometimes the cats. This leaves me free from worrying about being robbed or losing everything in a fire. If the people in my life are safe, there's no need to stress about the stuff.
But I may have to make an exception for Big Red. Instead of the tool belt, I should start storing it in the a safer place, like a bank vault.
It was there when I was balancing between the bathtub and the toilet and needed to pull up fresh tiles after I dropped the last tile, which smashed a couple of others. It didn't judge my tears. It was there every time I looked down at a flat-head screw and wondered why they didn't use a Phillips head. And, though I don't know it's origins, I suspect it may have been there when I was born.
It has been a wedge, a chisel, a paint stirrer, a back scratcher, a bug killer and sometimes even a screwdriver. The other tools get more attention. But the drill is just known as the drill, and the Phillips-head screw driver is just the "blue screwdriver." But Big Red is Big Red.
And it's an important reminder that the best isn't always the most expensive or beautiful. The best is one that always comes through for you.
The best things comes in all shapes, sizes and colors; even red.
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On Twitter: @DaveManley