April 27, 2011 1 Comment Stories

Finding the right tool

I spent a great deal of time with my Dad throughout the years, helping him with his work, but more importantly learning how shit gets done. I would not go as far to say that he was the greatest teacher on the planet, but he definitely had a method and it worked out pretty well, although I definitely did not think so at the time.

I can still picture myself helping him change the oil or the transmission fluid on his truck. He put a lot of miles on his truck when he was checking wells all over northeast Ohio so we were under his truck a lot. We developed a system where Dad did certain things and I did certain things. One of my jobs was getting him the tools he needed when he needed them. Most of the time I knew he needed a oil filter wrench, a 9/16th wrench, the pan, some rags, and the oil of course. But there were times when he would throw something out like, “Get me the channel locks,” or “I need a 9/16 socket.” Now these I probably already knew at the time, but then the question becomes, “Did he mean a deep well socket or what size of channel locks?”

The fear was that then having to hear it from him if I brought the wrong tool over. Man would he get pissed because he probably showed me before and I had forgotten and he hated to repeat himself. What I also learned is that when in doubt; grab several tools at once so hopefully I got the right one. Dad would get mildly upset when this would happen but he was less angry than if I brought the wrong one. He knew that I was doing so maybe he appreciated that enough to not get too aggravated over me trying to make sure I got the right tool. There was a time I did not know what a ball peen hammer was. So, I just grabbed the claw hammer, ball peen hammer, and anything other type of hammer. So picture probably 7-8 years old walking over with an arm full of hammers; Dad would look and grab it and say, “this is the damn ball peen hammer.” After a few of these occurrences it would sink in what I was supposed to grab, but there was always something else because it was not just tools, it was oil field parts too.

“Go get me a 2 inch nipple ” he would say. This was even worse because his truck had a big tool box with stuff everywhere and it was not labels with a big sign that said “nipples, couplers, etc.” There was always something to learn with Dad and there was so much more he still had to teach me.