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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Washer that Would Not Die

30th May 2012
Dear Cassi,

I believe I mentioned the notorious tinkering of Grandpa Leland. It is my understanding that the mishmash of lights in my garage is his doing and they have worked, slowly dying out over the last thirty years, in an acceptable fashion.
It is my understanding that grandpa Leland worked at a factory that made ceramic fittings. “It was a crappy job but it paid good,” Alan had told me once. Leland was a defects repair specialist. He would have to lift tubs and toilets and such and sand out imperfections in the porcelain then retouch the finish.
This was a hard job for the man and he retired after a stroke made him incapable of working. Never the less he was a man who insisted on doing all his own home repairs. This he did in an extravagant manner that only he understood.
I’m told he had this one old washer that he refused to replace. Bolts had rusted out in the body so he got hold of some aircraft bolts, military surplus, and installed them in board out holes. When he turned the machine on again it made a hideous grinding sound that his neighbors complained over but it worked and so he paid them no mind.
Then one day a side of the machine fell free having been ground off by the bolts. This gave Leland no trouble as he welded a plate over the hole. Over time that machine became a funny, oddly shaped contraption for a funny, oddly shaped man.
From what I gather Grandpa Leland’s handiwork was easy to spot, hard to understand, but did the job in its own odd way.

Sometimes we find our own way, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal