Chuck’s Uncle Bobby and his cousin Scott arrived at 8 am after a three-hour drive from northwest Arkansas ready to roof the tiny cabin.
The first order of business (after the hugs and handshakes) was to finish nailing the decking. Bobby and Scott then suggested screwing 2″ x 4″s along each seam to prevent sagging. Chuck cut the boards, Bobby held them to the inside of the roof, and Scott used his battery-powered drill to screw them in. The rest of us–my stepson Geoffrey, his girlfriend Angel, and I–tried to make ourselves useful.
The shade dwindled like a receding tide. We felt beached beneath the hot sun. Though the day originally promised to be “partly cloudy,” we were only lucky enough to have five glorious minutes of cloud cover around 1 pm. I was hot, so I could only imagine how Scott and Bobby felt.
I would like to say that our heroic roofers enjoyed frequent breaks in the shade, but they toughed it out. Bobby–two days shy of 61–was up and down the extension ladder helping with the drip edge, the tar paper, and the first row of shingles. Scott worked higher up and along the steep edges. We handed Bobby shingles, and he took them to Scott. Someone was always holding a ladder.
Though I mostly admired their handiwork from the ground, it was enthralling to watch them roof. Of course, I was nervous with Scott up so high. I could tell he knew what he was doing, but he wasn’t overconfident. Though he and Bobby cracked jokes to lighten the mood, they were both serious when it came to safety. In this situation, safety meant awareness–an art almost lost in our modern world of buzzing phones and constant distraction.
By a quarter to noon, they had finished the back. The air was really heating up, and the humidity didn’t help. But with the drip edge done and their system perfected, the front side only took less than an hour and a half to complete.
By now, fair-skinned Angel was resting in the shade. Geoffrey cut the 54 shingles for the peak, and Scott had them nailed in no time.
With Chuck’s arm still recovering coupled with our lack of expertise, we were glad to have called in professionals. But even more than that, we were glad to be with family.