Friday, May 16

Hardware Heaven

Inside Settlers Hardware
Houston, TX

We are in the midst of renovations at Penuel Ridge. One of the bedroom doors is missing its hardware. All that's left is a weathered faceplate with a lot of doorknobs, no box lock. Retreatants were reduced to poking their finger in the hole where the knob used to be to open and close the door. Also the rock to keep it from swinging open and shut at will was charming. I rattled around the Nashville area for a while looking for suitable hardware, but no luck.

Knowing I was making a trip to Houston and it being the home of one of the most magnificent antique hardware stores on the planet, I packed the faceplate in my luggage with full confidence the holy grail awaited me at Settlers Hardware.

I walked in the front door and was promptly greeted by a 100 pound Black Lab, which in my book beats the hell out of being spritzed by the department store perfume girl. Two hours of sifting through baskets of doorknobs and trays of set screws left their mark on me...hands covered in dirt, dust and hinge oil from a by-gone era and an ear-to-ear grin.

Back at the Retreat Center, the hardware has been successfully installed. I doubt if future sojourners will give a second thought to the hardware as they reach for the doorknob, but they may ask me why there's a rock in the corner of the room. I'll tell them it's a reminder that sometimes you've got to take a long journey to restore what's missing.

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