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Raising the Roof

Pasadena lends a hand.

I woke to a hot sultry May day.  The humidity was extreme and temperatures were to be near a hundred.  Looking outside my living room window, the lawn was covered with lumber.  Two by eights in the front yard, roof trusses in the back yard, sections of walls, and bundles of nails sat waiting.  The phone rang.

"Is this 84 lumber?”
“It may look like it, but no,” I said, thinking it was a neighbor playing a joke.
“I must have dialed the wrong number,”  he replied as he hung up the phone.

Cars pulled into the yard; my friends from Pasadena arrived.  Men in shorts and work shoes holding hammers in their hands greeted one another.  Women carrying pots, jugs of tea, and lemonade scurried into my house.  The work began.

Bang, Rip. ZZZZZZZZZZ. Work boots clambered up ladders.  Footsteps could be heard on the roof. I looked in amazement as my hanging plant was pulled skywards. Our old roof was being torn off. 4 X 8 sections of plywood with the shingles still attached were ripped up and thrown on the ground. The first one thrown, bounced and pierced the cellar window cracking it into pieces.  Friends ran to protect the rest of the cellar windows from damage.  By 10 AM we were exposed to the elements with storms predicted by afternoon.  

I was in the kitchen handing out iced tea and lemonade to the workers while my women friends and I prepared hotdogs for lunch. The sun beat down on the men lifting sections of wall for the second floor. Neighbors sat in chairs along the edge of my property to observe the happenings.  Cars stopped along the road to watch.  I should of sold tickets.

By 2:00 PM the walls were in place and the roof trusses were being lifted.  Sweaty men and teens jumped into the creek to cool off and then returned to work. Police came and watched.  As I stood observing the scene resembling a bee hive, a foot crashed through the ceiling.  One startled friend let out a scream.  A whole leg with a work boot hung down but the rest of the body was hidden from view. Wallboard dust and debris rained on us. My hair look frosted and dust choked my laughter.

Pots of spaghetti cooked on the stove.  Hungry men appeared looking for sustenance.  Spaghetti filled their bellies.  Gallons of iced tea disappeared. The path of workers streamed in and out of the kitchen.  We needed as many women to keep the men fed as the number of workers to hammer nails.


Dusk settled and the night would soon wrap its arms around the exhausted laborers.  It was too dark to see clearly enough to even hammer one more nail. Hugs were given to all that helped.  What could you offer such good friends?  I gazed up at our new home.  It was double the size; room for all my children and many guests.  Moon beams washed the new roof in its light.  However, the whole roof was not complete.  From our living room we could gaze upwards at the moon, thankfully not growing cumulus clouds.

The next day our Pasadena friends came back and finished the roof.  As they hammered the last nail, thunder could be heard in the distance.  Heavy rain soon followed and splashed on the plywood overhead.  We were grateful for faithful friends in Pasadena who had given us an enclosed second floor just in time.

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