Photo of a pan of mixed hardware, nuts, bolts, & screws.
Pan of mixed hardware Photo: Rodney Laughton.

Years ago, when we needed screws, nuts, or bolts, my dad didn’t go to the hardware store. The first trip would be “down cellar” to the pan of mixed hardware. Dad would look through the assortment and pick out what he wanted. On many occasions, he would turn to me saying “ find me some more just like this.” I would take a large bolt and rake through the pile until I found some that matched.

If something was being discarded and there were screws, nuts, or bolts that could be easily salvaged, the pan would be replenished. Today I drive to Oak Hill, where the fastener room at Ace Hardware stocks what seems to be every fastener imaginable.

This old pan has been sitting untouched for decades. It served us well at one time, and I hate to junk it. Today its only purpose is to provide me a pleasant memory of my childhood.

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