Larry the Neighbor Guy – a master of all trades!

The timing was perfect. As I walked across our backyards in search of Larry the Neighbor Guy, he came out of his garage.

“Help,” I said as I approached him. “I am becoming my mother.”

In my hand was something I felt Larry could fix if it was fixable. He has every tool ever invented in his shop and no job is too big or too miniscule for this carpenter, electrician, plumber, welder, fisherman and friend.

I held up my favorite egg/pancake turner to demonstrate how it wobbled because one of its rivets had gone missing. It’s rather difficult to turn an egg or a pancake with a bobble head on the end of a handle.

But I could not throw it away.

As Larry took it from me to examine it, I began a little story about my late mother – frugal Freda.

Freda was 95 when it became necessary for her to leave the farm to spend her final three years in a nursing home. She had lived on that farm for 70 years.

She and Dad married when Mom was 25 and we think she possibly still used some of the same kitchen utensils she started out with.

There were the tins she baked her prize winning North Dakota State Fair blue ribbon bread in. The cookie sheets she used to make my favorite cookies when I was a child were the same ones she used when her great grandchildren came for a visit – all showing signs of decades in a hot oven.

Her cake pans had accumulated years of baked on grease that could no longer be scoured clean. Nonetheless, she produced some of the most wonderful caramel and cinnamon rolls you could ever imagine.

Her black and white enamel strainer had chips and one of her stainless steel mixing bowls had a dent. Probably hit the floor a time or two.

The point is she had used all these things so long they were her friends in the kitchen. They always served her extremely well and despite us sometimes supplying her with new things, Mom stood by her old standbys.

Which brings me to me.

When my egg/pancake turner lost its rivet, I looked everywhere for one exactly like it – shiny, skinny metal with a short easy-to-grip wooden handle. I even checked the thrift stores.

Alas, there’s nothing like it out there. All the newer turners have longer handles. I have a long handled Teflon tipped one and I don’t want another. I don’t have room for another long handle in the drawer. Plus, all the ones they make now are basically thicker and fatter. I prefer the skinny thin metal kind for my cast iron skillet. It slips like satin under an egg, an omelet or a pancake.

Then one day it dawned on me – I bet Larry the Neighbor Guy can fix my broken one.

But of course!

Two days later when I returned from an errand, my egg/pancake turner was on the deck waiting to get back into the house where it belongs.

Larry had given it a new rivet, soldered it and made it like brand spankin’ new.

My Mom’s very old pancake griddle is now one of my prized kitchen possessions. It is an heirloom to me and even my grandchildren think it is really nifty.

So, I guess it’s true – I have become my mother which my favorite nephew, Chuck, would say is not a bad thing. He loved his grandma and agrees she was a pretty good egg.

And so is – Larry the Neighbor Guy!

Until Soon

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