We are supposed to have one more day of nice weather before a big winter storm hits on Thursday. I’m not so sure we will get that "nice day" that the weatherman predicted. We need that one day. Although we have worked like little beavers the last couple of days, we only have two walls up. I feel good about those two walls, and would like to get another wall up today. Toby and I do well, but we just are not as strong as we used to be. Jesse has been helping when she gets home from work. Yesterday she brought a guy home with her – two reasons: First, she locked her keys in her car, so she had to catch a ride home from work. Second, we needed a boy to help lift the wall. Earlier when we needed to lift the first wall, we went and got a couple of neighbor boys, which worked well. I wonder what we will do today when we need to lift the third wall…
Most of you know that my dad was a teacher, but during the summers he worked as a carpenter to make extra money to feed us kids. Plus, he loved building things. While we were building our house in NM, I got to work with Dad while he and Toby built our house. Through the week, Toby would go off to his day-job and leave Dad and I to do things on the house. I can’t begin to explain the fun Dad and I had together and the times we both had to just stop and laugh. He once called me "the best carpenter’s helper he ever had." That is one of the best compliments I ever had, and I still try to live up to his expectations. Even after we finished our house, Dad would get me to work with him around RR on his building projects – he loved it that I had my own tool-belt, and could out-carpenter most of his friends.
We also built a large storehouse together here in OK. Once while we were working, Dad hit a nail with his hammer and the nail popped up and struck me just over my eye (I was wearing protective eyewear). I thought it was nothing, but blood started trickling down from the hit. Dad was horrified. I remember the look on his face and the concern that he had hurt me. It was really nothing, but the moment sticks in my memory.
Toby has lots of building memories with dad too. Some of you may also know that Dad was not too pleased when I married Toby. He didn’t know Toby well, and I was his baby girl. During the summer after we married, Toby was helping Dad on a building project. At first they were terribly polite to each other – painfully so. I stayed out of their way. Then they got used to each other. Before the project was over, they were good friends – calling each other names, cussing each other, taking a snort together, reading each other’s mind as only men who work together can do. Of course, Dad came to love and respect Toby, telling me that he should have trusted my judgement. After all, he raised me.
Whenever Dad and I would come up against some building problem, Dad would stop and have a coffee and cigarette break. Sometimes he would have a snort of Wild Turkey, which he kept behind the seat of his pick-up truck. He was well known for his bottle of Wild Turkey. Once, he must have had several cups of coffee and cigarettes on a particularly tough problem. I kept saying, "I think if we do this…" and he would say, "I don’t think you are strong enough…" After much coffee drinking and cigarettes, he decided that my way was our only choice, and we gave it a try. It worked like a charm. Dad said, "Wow, you are a lot stronger than I thought." Several times in the last few days when Toby and I have had a problem with the house, I would say, "I think we need some coffee and a cigarette – maybe even some Wild Turkey." It made both of us smile.