December 2016 – Durfee Newsletter

Durfee Hardware Newsletter Placard


I went to lunch on Rolfe street recently and one of the people in the restaurant asked me “What would your Dad have said about the election?”. Funny, I’m not sure what he would have said exactly.

My Dad knew that if you talked about politics it could get you into trouble. He worked hard at taking politics out of the hardware store. When he ran for office, he didn’t wear a button in the store, he didn’t put up signs for his campaign in the store or anything like that. The only thing he would do was to put a sign pretty far out in the parking lot to “Vote for Ray Durfee”. So, I have mixed feelings about writing something about politics in this newsletter. The contrast of Ray Durfee’s politics compared to those we saw this election made me want to write something about it without breaking his “rules”.

While he wouldn’t campaign in the store he would, of course, be happy to have a conversation with you back in the “key room” if you brought up the subject. Lots of people, politicians and constituents alike visited the “key room” and talked with him. Ray was a state representative and then a senator for many years. He had no press secretary, he had no staff. He never took anybody’s money since he paid for his grass roots campaigns with his own money. He (and his family and friends) would go to every door in the district for every campaign. That was a huge undertaking. We would keep a large map of Cranston at home with a highlighter that marked each street that we had already gone to. It was always a challenge to get the whole map yellow before the election came.

With a $300 a year salary for those elected positions you either did the job for the love of public service or for a love of yourself. As those of you who knew Ray know, he was selfless. I asked him why he got into politics and he said it was because one day he got “mad enough”. He would field lots of phone calls at home after work to help his constituents. He actually would tell people when he had a different opinion then theirs rather than just placate them. As my brother has said, my Dad had the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. It seemed that everybody in politics respected him. He was always a gentleman.

So, in the midst of this election year, I often thought of my father. While he was part of the “greatest generation”, I hope that he inspired a next generation of honest, smart people that simply get into politics because they feel they can do better.


I didn’t pay a ton of attention to what I bought this month. I know I bought more plumbing stuff to prepare for re-doing the piping where my well water enters my house. I hope to actually finish that job this month. I’ve done a lot of the soldering ahead of time so that I can just replace a section with the valves and fittings that I have put together already. I had to get another can of MAP gas so I can sweat the joints. The hardware store sells the ones that you don’t need solder for but I’m comfortable with soldering and the solderable fittings are less expensive.

I did a lot of chainsawing and outdoor cleanup. I also bought some gas stabilizer so that my gas powered equipment will actually start up next season. My son wanted a Brita water pitcher for his apartment so I bought him one and an extra filter. I worry about germs this time of year so I bought a bunch of those Clorox wipes so I can keep stuff germ free. Oh, I had to get more dishwasher detergent because Thanksgiving used up all that we had. We also ran out of gallon zip lock bags to put the food away in.

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