Friday, June 30, 2017

Pencil Erasers

June 30, 2017

There’s a reason I do most of my writing in pencil. It’s the same reason pencils come with erasers. Mistakes. Errors. Screw-ups. Whatever name you want to give them, when it comes to making them, I am a master. When I was writing sermons, I always started with a yellow legal pad. A sermon is like a journey. If it is to be successful, you need to figure out where you want to end up before you begin. I would write down my goal, do my best to discern where the listeners are, figure out how to get them on board; then away I’d go. More often than not, the writing process took me down plenty of dead ends before I had something I could work with. My pencils and especially my erasers always got a good workout.

When it comes to mistakes, I’m not limited to sermonizing. “God, forgive me,” is a regular necessity in my prayers, as is, “God, help me.” Left to my own devices, I’ll mess things up every time. Fortunately, he does. Forgive and help.

Then there are the ordinary foul-ups that aren’t sins, but that still dot the landscape of my life. Take today, for example. Yesterday I finished the brick patio. There was just one little task left. The outside faucet for the hose is on the front of the house just above a basement window. No matter what we did, the connection leaked when the water was on, which created a nasty, wet scenario in the basement as the excess water seeped down through the gravel and through the block wall. The simple solution was to extend the faucet along the wall to the front of the patio. A few strategically placed bricks would hide it from view. 

I have the tools; it’s a simple job. Even allowing such a thought to pass through my mind should have warned me of things to come. The first trip to Cassadaga for pipe parts should have been the last. It was not. As I picked out the parts, something just didn’t seem right, but like a fool, I charged ahead. Mistake number one. I hadn’t noticed the reducer on the 3/4 inch line just before it went through the wall. I needed half inch pipe; every, I mean EVERY piece I bought was 3/4 inch. 

Back to Cassadaga to exchange parts. This time, I forgot a twelve inch section I needed. Trip number two wasn’t so bad; after all, I had to pick up the cards Linda had bought on trip number one and left at the counter. 

Trip number three was for the ten inch section I needed to make the faucet terminate where I wanted it. Finally, it was all together and working just fine. Of course, that was before I found on a shelf in the garage a faucet with a ten inch section already attached. 

Unfortunately, there are no erasers for plumbing mistakes. Fortunately, today’s mistakes weren’t fatal. They weren’t even disastrous. Not even terrible. And fortunately, I’m retired, and had the time to enjoy the scenery between here and Cassadaga. Three times. Gotta love that number!

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