CALL HIM A CHARACTER or the ultimate BS-er or, simply, a man of quick wit. Whichever, Wayne Wenzel truly is all of these.
And to locals, this proprietor of Dad’s Good Stuff, a long ago hardware store age-defined by worn wood floors and a wainscot ceiling, Wayne is much more.
He’s the key maker, paint salesman, furniture refinisher, window and screen repairman and peddler of all things old in New Richland.
Poke around here long enough in the stashes of aged merchandise that create for narrow, barely-passable aisles, and you will find something you need.
From Red Wing chicken feeders to Pyrex casseroles, to a Murphy bed, vintage calendars, Fiestaware, John Deere collectible toy tractors and lots lots more, Wayne’s store is packed with good stuff. That is if you are into antiques and collectibles. Or need paint or paint supplies. Or a key. Or a piece of furniture refinished. Or…a bit of bull.
Throughout the building, tacked on walls and tucked into displays, signs showcase Wayne’s humor. Under a “Complaint Department—Push Button for Service” sign, this jokester has affixed a doctored mousetrap with a button.
High on a wall, Wayne informs shoppers: “This Wagon Tonng Was on the First Wells Fargo Stagecoatch that Came Thru N. R. and Latter Robbed by the James Brothers Frank & Jessy James.”
Now, if you believe that, you’ll believe that Wayne once won the Waseca County Spelling Bee.
But remark to this jovial man about the handprinted “Our Surveillance.” warning posted next to a portrait of Christ peering downward, and his mood shifts. “He’s been good to us,” Wayne says, suddenly serious.
And I know he’s thinking of his son who died of a heart attack five years ago.
“They say time heals,” he’s told me earlier, his eyes watering. I listen and reassure Wayne that it’s OK to talk about Troy, to cry, that time doesn’t really heal. I wonder then how much pain this barrel-chested man hides behind his humor. The moment passes and he’s back at it, dishing out bull.
I’ve only just met Wayne. But he’s made me laugh more than I’ve laughed in a long time. That is his gift to the community of New Richland, to those who stop by Dad’s Good Stuff for paint or keys or collectibles or BS. Laughter. The good stuff.
FYI: Current hours at Dad’s Good Stuff are from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Thursday, from 8 a.m. – noon Friday and Saturday, and Sundays by appointment. I’d suggest calling ahead (507-465-8551) if you’re traveling from any distance to shop here. Tell Wayne I sent you.
Check back for another post from New Richland.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling