Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n24)
A trip to Handy Hardware
posted: Dec. 06, 2019
sat in the middle of Broad Ripple
with dingy windows opening
on a cramped, overflowing store.
The smell of musty old stuff
knocked you out on opening the door.
On display in overcrowded bins in a happy jumble,
every kind of hardware device known
Faucets, wrenches, light sockets,
screening for doors and windows,
saws, hammers, electrical tools,
strewn all over the place,
some dripping onto the hardwood,
A few incandescent lights hung
from the stamped metal ceiling.
Beyond the hodge-podge of the main room
stood the "back room", where
more disorder reigned.
It's a kind of workshop,
where screens are repaired,
fashioned. . .
A wonderland of disarray
in this small store
something of every kind of imaginable ilk.
The family who owned the place
waited patiently for the uninformed,
until they give up in frustration,
unable to find what they want.
They tired of opening a faucet package
to find the washers had been removed
and sold separately.
Most of the boxes have been raided
to satisfy the needs of one customer
Then, a happy game of "Finders Keepers"
Of course, some of us homeowners couldn't use what we found, because we didn't know how to take out the old part and replace the new.
So the store owner family spent time with each of us, explaining, showing, answering questions.
I always left happy, confused, wondering.
In all that mess, each clerk knew precisely where anything was to be found.
They knew it like the inside of their unconscious,
and could walk you to the spot where the item lay in innocent splendor, gleaming, under a film of dust,
as if to illustrate the store's name was prescient for its contents and uses.
They lost their lease after more than 30 years.
Moved to another location, but before they could impose the needed disarray, the store disappeared.
People couldn't find "Handy Hardware", and there was no one to show them where it sat in splendid disarray.
Some say it closed its doors and crept away
in the night.
I think it still exists somewhere.
If we could only stumble onto it.