Jury-Rigging Our Surroundings
Growing up poor sometimes calls for desperate measures, as when something breaks down and you don’t have the right part to fix it. Hence, the term jury-rig (to erect, construct, or arrange in a makeshift fashion; to assemble quickly or from whatever is at hand, especially for temporary use). Growing up, we used to call it gerry-rigging, a spin-off from World War II, when the German military kept fixing their broken-down equipment with whatever they could find. But, since the politically correct days arrived, we have to call it jury-rigging. No one is better at jury-rigging than my husband. Our kids used to think he could fix anything with duct tape or twisty ties. They thought WD-40 was the answer to all the world’s problems. I have seen my husband repair the most unusual things. Take, for instance, the time a very strong friend broke the outside handle off the passenger door of our mini-van. Voila! It was replaced almost instantly with plastic-coated wire. We just had to ignore the funny looks people gave us. Once I needed a set for a vacation Bible school program. My creative husband constructed a tropical island using rolled-up chicken wire covered with indoor/outdoor carpet, courtesy of the neighbor’s trash pile. He made palm trees out of cardboard tubes from carpet rolls. He’s the best set-builder I know. Growing up poor helped stretch his creative abilities. I have to chuckle at the part of the definition above which says “temporary use.” We still use some of the “temporary” fixes my husband created years ago using twine (holding up the grass-catcher on the lawn mower), old pallets (dog pen door), and a two-by-four (holding up the tailgate on the Jeep). He uses wire clothes hangers to hold up mufflers under the car and y-shaped tree branches to hold up our drooping clothes line. Yes, he’s the master of jury-rigging. Growing up poor has served us well. Those home supply stores have lost a bundle of money from us. I feel sorry for them; I really do.