It Was Bright Orange

 

Today I am disposing of my Father’s drill. There is nothing special or unique about it, but it has been around almost as long as I have, with a lot less complaining. I hate to see it go.

It reminds me of my Dad, my childhood, the ranch where I spent my earliest years, and a world that was about to swiftly change in unexpected ways.

Dad bought it sometime between 1967 and 1975. That was after my Grandpa died and before the ranch was sold. My age was in the single digits. I wasn’t there for the purchase, but I distinctly remember seeing the drill for the first time in the tool shed. The tool shed was built from adobe blocks, with clapboard siding and covered by a tin roof. Half of it was partitioned off for Grandma’s chickens.

The drill was bright orange! To my eyes, it glowed. I spent a lot of time shadowing Dad while he worked and I was familiar with his tools. They were all made of steel and sometimes wood. A few were shiny. But this was the first tool I had seen with such vivid color and it made a strong impression. It was a Black and Decker with a partially plastic body and the now familiar color scheme. I don’t think we had anything so brightly colored, even in the house, much less the tool shed. In that small shadowy building, surrounded by rust, dust, and wood shavings, I had never seen anything like it. But it was the first of many plastic products that, over time, made things cheaper, lighter, and certainly more colorful.

Dad used that drill for the rest of his life. I have used it for many years. The power cord has suffered multiple injuries. I dropped it on a frosty morning a while back and broke the handle. Some epoxy and a Kydex patch kept it going. But a couple days ago, it began to have problems – it only ran when held at a certain angle. It seems to have a broken wire in the base of the cord, or maybe in the handle. I switched over to the new drill and kept working and could immediately see that the newer, more powerful drill really was a much better tool.

I fiddled with it a little bit, but it’s not worth a lot of effort. I have two much better drills. So I’m going to toss it. It’s difficult because I don’t like to throw away things that date to my childhood.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 11 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Save that power plug, it looks reusable.  And the chuck key tool, you never know when you might need one.

    • #1
  2. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    You could pay to have the electronics gone over / replaced.  That thing was your father’s.

    I have an aftermarket shift knob and some 1970’s computer material from my Dad.  That and a belt, buckle, truck-driving jacket. 

    At least keep it in the junk drawer, hedging against some future restoration project.  I see you’ve already cut the cord, which is good.

     

    • #2
  3. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    With hardly a twinge, I threw out my dad’s old old Black & Decker hedgeclipper. Its dull blades and its ozone production were understandable and almost forgivable, but the plastic one I bought just works vastly better. And is much lighter. And has a switch that is spring-loaded to default to off. The switch on Dad’s stayed on – that’s how things were built in the 1960s – and it made the thing dangerous. You drop it, or wave it too close to your face, it would keep right on chewing!

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    It’s tough throwing away or donating your late parents’ stuff.  It’s been four years since my mother passed, and I’ve only emptied about 2/3s of her dresser.  The closet is still full of clothes.  Thinking of asking the kids to do it . . .

    • #4
  5. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Home Depot created a whole brand by that color. Iconic tool that!

    • #5
  6. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    The first screw gun I ever saw or had, back in the late 70’s I think was that color – Mikita Orange.

    Eventually they switched to the teal color they are now.

    This tool revolutionized the construction business. I, being “young, dumb, and full of cum” as they say, refused to give in, and challenged the new technology like Casey Jones and his sledgehammer, but with my trusty Yankee screwdriver. I was a master with it, or so I thought at 22. And no batteries to charge!

    But it didn’t take long to see the writing on the wall, and I acquired a Mikita. And it was orange.

    Soon we were wearing them in holsters like six guns (as my business card once said “Have screw gun, will travel”). So it became okay, and the trusty ol’ Yankee was retired.

    Now of course everything is battery. I am an electrical contractor and I hardly own an extension cord.

    • #6
  7. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    The first screw gun I ever saw or had, back in the late 70’s I think was that color – Mikita Orange.

    Eventually they switched to the teal color they are now.

    This tool revolutionized the construction business. I, being “young, dumb, and full of cum” as they say, refused to give in, and challenged the new technology like Casey Jones and his sledgehammer, but with my trusty Yankee screwdriver. I was a master with it, or so I thought at 22. And no batteries to charge!

    But it didn’t take long to see the writing on the wall, and I acquired a Mikita. And it was orange.

    Soon we were wearing them in holsters like six guns (as my business card once said “Have screw gun, will travel”). So it became okay, and the trusty ol’ Yankee was retired.

    Now of course everything is battery. I am an electrical contractor and I hardly own an extension cord.

    Dad acquired a Yankee screwdriver in his old age.  He was very pleased with it, but past the point of using it.  I had no idea one could be useful in construction.  I expect it requires a lot of strength and some skill. I’ve never found a use for it.

    • #7
  8. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Excellent post, very much enjoyed it. Still easy to see how that thing caught your eye, lo, these many years.

    • #8
  9. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    Helping my Dad fix things, especially when power tools were involved, was a thrill when I was little. I only recently got rid of his hedge trimmer, which must have been 50 years old. The new battery-powered ones are much better! I still have screwdrivers and a few other tools that belonged to Dad and my grandfather.

    • #9
  10. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    I’ve got two of those, except of tan color. I bought them about 50 years ago and continue to use them.  They work fine. But then, I probably haven’t used them nearly as much as your dad did, or you have. I think I bought the second one after a move, in which I thought I had lost the first one, but then found that one.  My son has no interest, so maybe I should just have them buried with me….

    • #10
  11. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    My father’s idea of a “full” tool set was to have  a Phillips screwdriver in addition to the hammer and flat-bladed screwdriver.  I don’t have any of those left. 

    I have gone through several powered drill/screwdrivers and feel that each generation is less robust than the one before.  Sort of like washers and dryers and water heaters and furnaces …..

     

    • #11
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.