Updated: Feb 2, 2022
This is the story of how the Binford 6000 Gas Powered Hammer came to be.
Some memories just bring a warm smile to your senses. This is one of them.
I was fortunate to have joined Rotary International in Edgewater, Florida back in the early 90’s. As with any new group of strangers there is always one person who stands out, who will willingly take a newbie under their wing, explain the ropes, and on the journey become a true friend.
Don Roberts was that for me. And countless others too, but this is my story.
Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self” and our club lived and breathed that.
Always giving back to the community, and so it seemed we were constantly building something.
He taught by example.
Don was always there, swinging away, sweating, cursing his many thumb and hammer encounters, inspiring us all.
We built our local Rotary Park with a sports complex, jogging trails around a small pond, kid’s playground, picnic areas, rest rooms and 2 large pavilions. There was always lots of hammering, and a few sore backs and thumbs
I spent my year as President of the club, which is as much a pain in the butt, as it is an honor, and a tradition. I followed President Don by a few years. One delightful duty I had as President was to select and honor a member for their “Outstanding Service”. The decision was obvious, Donny Boy jumped to the top of the pack.
The Set up
One of our easier projects was remodeling a local small business to convert it to an upscale thrift shop. Our club was populated by all of the needed building trades… electricians, plumbers, drywallers, painters, it even included caterers, and chiropractors. And all the minions with no skills like me, necessary to allow us to finish the project. So, one day after work we gather to start this remodel and tonight it is mostly demolition work to bring the restrooms up to code.
Sometimes you can smell the dedication
Taking a beer break, with Jim Daily, WW, Warren Wilson, and Wire Nuts, Kevin Seymour, we were discussing the next step, and we keep hearing this pounding noise followed by a toot.
Pound, Pound, Toot…. Pound, Pound, Toot. Very suspicious, and mysterious, naturally our inquiring minds wanted to know more. Around the corner we see Don just swinging away at some stubborn drywall and studs.
He is really committed to get through to the other side and with every other swing he was farting. Priceless! Everybody had a great laugh, and it was the topic of many meetings for quite a few weeks. His audible efforts could not go without recognition, so we awarded him with this plaque.
The First Binford 6000 Gas powered Hammer. For the purposes of the podcast episode, you have to picture a typical, wood handled, Stanley hammer, with the hose and insert from an enema bottle attached to the bottom of the handle. There is really no need for instruction, it is totally obvious.
And we miss him
Don passed way too soon, and he truly was a Rotary Rockstar. And he will live in the hearts of everyone he crossed paths with,
Especially mine, I Miss you dear friend!
While we are talking about fateful encounters from the Rotary club, I have to mention Jim Daily and his wife Dorothy. Marie knew Dorothy from work, and she was determined to try and hook Marie and I up. I failed to mention that we were a drinking club, which is important, because some of our greatest ideas arose from the bottom of a bottle or glass. We would hang around after the weekly meeting and lubricate some of our better ideas.
This is how we decided on the infamous Meadow Bingo, and our World Renown Cadillac Party. Both huge fundraisers because we knew not to be stingy with the adult beverages.
One of our less spectacular but still noteworthy fundraiser was a boat raffle. The proceeds mostly went to our local scholarship fund. So, Dorothy finally arranged for me to call Marie to ask her out. I did call Marie and we had our blind date and 26 years later we never did properly thank Jim and Dorothy, but we did decide to prank them.
The Saturday morning following the first date, Jim and I were scheduled to sell tickets for the boat raffle, and we had it on display outside the K-Mart in New Smyrna Beach.
Jim casually asked, “So, how was your date?” and I told him "I stood her up". Marie and I hatched this idea mostly to see Dorothy’s reaction when the two of the came to see Jim and me at the boat. I fessed up to Jim before they got there so he could play along, so we would all agitate his wife.
She walked up to me with eye’s a blazing, and if looks could, kill Jim would have to tell this story.
Well, the truth soon came out, because the three of us were smiling too much, and we had numerous double dates in the following years. We have moved in many different directions, but Marie still connects with Dorothy on Facebook. I hope you guys appreciate this story as much as we do. So let this be a public thank you.
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