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Renovation & Design

Don't let the weather get you DOWN

Mustard reminisces about floods, fishing, and his antique organ

Gone fishing! Cool old hooks from the bygone barbed era.

Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

The craftsmanship in this old pump organ is spectacular.

I am NOT going to talk about our current weather woes this morning. Just not going to do it. We need a distraction. So maybe I’ll talk about something I relate to more and more with each passing day. Old stuff. An antique talking about antiques.

But before I do that, for those of you experiencing back ups and other wet and wild happenings in your basement presently, I’ll share with you an adventure I experienced during a huge rain storm one hot summer eve’ long long ago.

I was in a basement suite with my girlfriend, enjoying the thunder and lightning, the rain literally hammering down, and I said something like, “Wow, that water is so loud, it’s almost like you can hear it right here in the suite.”

We listened, I got up, looked down the hall, and sure enough, there was a tsunami just heading out the bathroom door. There was so much water entering the sewer system it was causing basement toilets to do their best Yellowstone Old Faithful imitation, geysering everywhere.

Only it wasn’t water. It was raw sewage being pushed back up the pipes.

Can’t have that filling up home-suite-home. So I ran into the bathroom (bare feet), closed the door, shoved the mat across the bottom to prevent the partly liquified horror from escaping, grabbed the garbage can under the sink, and started baling it into the bathtub.

When the tub was nearly full with — oh you do not want me to describe it — I realized I just had to stop the flow somehow. I remembered hearing not to plug the toilet because it could possibly cause the floor to heave, but I gambled, grabbed the mat (bare hands) and crammed it into the toilet. It worked, which was a good thing because the whole bathroom was about six inches deep with the stuff and rising.

It’s all a stinky blur from there, but in very short order the caretaker arrived with a volunteer bucket brigade who hauled the stuff outside, dumped it, and just kept it up until the sewage was removed and the cleanup complete. They were amazing.

A memorable event to say the least, and left me with a great story to tell the kids and grandkids.

But I digress. Wasn’t I going to talk about antiques?

Let me show you a true beauty. The gorgeous old pump organ you see here was given me by a nice man who just wanted to see it go somewhere where it would be appreciated, and preserved. If I’m remembering correctly, his grandfather had completely refinished it at some point, but never got around to restoring the music making part. You can pull out the stops, pump away, but it makes nary a sound. Not one. It’s pure eye candy these days.

I’ll keep it for a while, I just love looking at it. To think so many of these go to the dump. Unconscionable.

Y’know, sometimes even I’m surprised by the old stuff I have around here. A few weeks ago I pulled an old case off the shelf, opened it up and found a whack of antique fishing lures/hooks. All barbed of course. And I don’t even fish anymore.

I have no idea where I got them. I’m guessing at some farm auction a few decades ago, probably near Killarney which is excellent fishing country. I’m thinking maybe I’ll clean them up and mount them all in a framed glass case you can hang on the wall. Good conversation piece. Those red devil lures were popular. I did fish some when I was a kid. Hooked my buddy Frank Hart through the eyelid with a red devil lure. The Killarney town doc’ removed it. Didn’t hurt Frank’s eye. We went back fishing.

That’s all the distraction I have room for today. Have the best weekend you can.

Comments and column suggestions welcome at

lmustard1948@gmail.com

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