HE COULD FIX ANYTHING
Most of the Eaves children seemed to have nicknames that were used instead of their more formal names—Felmont Farrell was Monte, Willard Howard was Easy, Margaret Angelique was Tootsie and William Audrey was Pat! Pat was the middle Eaves son—much shorter than his two very tall brothers. I always thought he looked a bit like the popular crooner Perry Como—he was soft-spoken, very good looking and relaxed.
Everyone in the family always said he could fix anything! Every time he came to visit we’d all have our list of little repairs that were needed and he’d tackle them cheerfully. His wife Tip frequently complained that we took advantage of him or that he didn’t ever seem time to do repairs at home. That was hard to believe. He loved solving problems and getting things in good working order. His patience and persistence at those tasks were exceptional.
He worked many years as a regional salesperson for the Belknap Hardware Company based in Louisville, Kentucky. He carried a huge catalog and drove to all the hardware stores in his territory near Cookeville to take their orders to stock their shelves. When there was a good deal on some product he thought some of the family might like, he’d bring it as a gift on his next visit. Once he brought Mother a set of “company dishes”—white with dainty pastel flowers and gold trim. I still use the plates every day although the gold trim has worn away and the flowers are very pale.
Pat married an Etowah woman with a fiery personality totally unlike his. Tip could be as charming as anyone one moment and yelling furiously the next. It was a bit unsettling when they were guests. The angrier she seemed to get, the calmer Pat became. We always wanted him to be firmer with her but that wasn’t his way. They both doted on their only child, Patricia Arden. She was just eleven months younger than I was, so she always played with her boy cousins and me—her half-aunt—when visiting. We called her Patsy but as an adult, she was known as Pat, just like her beloved dad.
He always delighted in Pat and everything she did—and eventually he got to be loving grandfather to her children. He spent many happy hours at their home doing all those things he’d always done for us—making repairs, installing things, constructing things. Quietly and always cheerfully. That was the way Pat liked it.