My Best Friend Bert - #16

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Bert and I took a drive to the hardware store, but I don't think that is where Bert wanted to go.

I needed to dig a water runoff trench in my back yard so I called my best friend, Bert. Bert has everything known to the modern world if its general definition is a "landscaping tool". You know, those things used in gardening and yard maintenance.

I really not sure why he has all those tools because he has a simple yard and his wife's garden is small. But, on the other hand I don't ask, I just borrow.

"Hay Bert," I said with a laugh in my voice, "I'll bring your leaf-rake back if you'll lend me a Trench-Shovel."

Bert replied, "So that is where my leaf-rake went! When did you borrow that?"

Again I answered with a laugh, and said, "Last month, when I brought your Wheelbarrow back. Don't you remember?"

Bert laughed and stated, "Well hell, at my age it's a wonder I can remember what day it is, let alone what tool you've made off with. Now what is it you need this time?"


I told Bert about the water runoff trench and that I needed a Trench-Shovel.

I think that I went into too much detail and gave him too much information, 'cause Bert started to get grumpy. He always does that when details don't interest him.


Bert replied, "Well you're out of luck! I busted the handle on my shovel trying to, --- well, what I was doing doesn't matter, I guess, the point is it's busted and you'll have to buy a tool for a change."

I thought for a moment and asked, "Well then, you want-ta go to the hardware store with me?

It's almost lunch time and all the wife has in the kitchen is cold-cuts and salad fixings. A trip to the hardware store would be a good enough excuse to stop at Betty's Burgers and Beer for lunch. I don't know about you but a burger, fries, and an ice-cold beer sound just great to me."

"Hmm," Bert thought for a moment and said, "Well, I haven't been to the hardware store in a long time, and Betty has been advertising a Jumbo New York style Hotdog, I could go for one of those. --- Pick me up in ten minutes!"


Right down Main Street we traveled in my old pickup truck; I call her Nelly and she's a peach.

My wife will ride in the truck but she will have nothing to do with driving the beast, at least that is what she calls my truck; The Beast. She says that she isn't driving anything that doesn't have power-steering and an automatic transmission, but that's OK.



"Turn right on Clifford Road," Bert said as we approach an intersection, "It's the second street past the light."

I was surprised and replied, "That's not where Super-Jumbo Hardware is located, they are out on the edge of town."

Bert stated, "I don't go to Super-Jumbo unless I need building materials or the wife wants to shop for spring flowers. Now turn on Clifford Road like I said."


Then Bert got a nostalgic look on his face, you know, like the look some guys get when they start talking about their first motorcycle or car.

And after the look Bert said, "I've been going to Clifford Hardware for ages, Sandra and Berry are the best. They are knowledgeable, funny, and know exactly what I need, even when I don't.

And if I want a certain tool, made by a certain company, and Super-Jumbo doesn't carry that brand, well Clifford's Hardware will order it for me at no extra charge.

Besides, you can't get a hot cup of free coffee and chit-chat with the sales people at Super-Jumbo; they just aren't made that way.

There, pull your truck in right next to Harpy’s Automotive and park by the. ... Hay, where the hell did Clifford's go?"

I stopped the truck and asked, "Are you saying that there was a hardware store next to the garage? I thought that there was just a garage and a tire store in this complex. Where was the hardware store at?"

Bert look like someone had smacked him upside the head, he was dumfounded.

After awhile he regained his senses, and then replied, "Do you see the end of the Harpy’s automotive building? Over there where it says Transmissions and Wheel-alignment."

I indicated I did with a nod of the head.

Then Bert stated, "Well, that end of the building used to be Clifford's Hardware."


Bert yelled out the window at someone he seemed to know and the guy came over to the truck; they talked for a spell.

The guy told Bert that all the small hardware stores that used to be, weren't there anymore. Even the midsized stores had closed or move away from Super-Jumbo's target area.

Now, if anyone in that town needed hardware stuff, well, they had to drive for over an hour. The only other choice was Super-Jumbo Hardware.


Bert was really struck and overcome with sadness, so I figured we shouldn't go shopping until after lunch; he needed sustenance.

And when we got to Betty's I could tell Bert was really upset. He was so let down that I had to remind him what he was going to order when he got to Betty's, the Jumbo New York style Hotdog.


When we sat down at a table, with beer in hand, I told Bert, "Well hell, look at the bright side, you've got almost every tool you will ever need and after I buy the Trench-Shovel we'll be set for life.  So you see, the loss of Clifford's Hardware isn't so bad.

Bert sat his beer down and looked at me with amazement in his eyes, and then he stated, "You don't get it, do you? Clifford's Hardware was never about buying tools, it was about stepping into my past for just a few moments.


The food arrived, and as Bert munched away at his hot-dog I shoved French-Fries in my mouth and pondered what Bert had said.

He was right, you know, I didn't understand and I didn’t know how he felt. How could I? Bert has lost his time capsule to the past but I still have mine; my truck, Nelly.



D. Thurmond / JEF


Submitted: July 05, 2019

© Copyright 2022 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



This was really kind of sad, JE. Poor Bert, a bit of the past no longer present.

Fri, July 5th, 2019 7:49pm


Too True. But stuff happens, or has to happen, I guess.

Wed, July 10th, 2019 9:24am

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