I rolled into French’s Camp at precisely noon, Thursday, after having carefully calculated my departure time from home, based on road construction estimates as far as time delays, on the way up the 101. Bull was nowhere to be seen, a state of affairs that I had already predicted would be the case, when discussing the venue earlier with Gluten-Free Mama.
|Before the crush. Last year there was almost |
Another tragedy, you know? I sat there in HeadSodBuster’s truck, ate one of the two tasty sandwiches that GF Mama had prepared for me, fired up the first AR of ROTR, 2017, and read my copy of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” This set-up for ROTR is a real bitch…
Thirty minutes later I decided to text Bull, just to confirm that I was indeed, putting in my time, awaiting his arrival. Ten minutes later he responded verbosely, “On way.” I struggled though another half-hour of labor-intensive reading, before the man showed up, his truck brimming over, not unlike the depression-era Okies, heading cross-country to start life anew.
Nothing in the truck seemed to have much relevance to me, just a couple of eight-foot chunks of 2 x 12 fir, kind of gnarly, and other assorted sizes of lumber, to go along with his tools. There were all of the parts to a carport, in a big jumble, and several metal racks that needed to be assembled. He also had tools of mass construction, including a pick, a shovel and a big iron, a ten pound sledge hammer, which was inclined to have its own way.
Where was the green fir for new tables? Where was the paint? Where was Mid-sized David, all six-feet, six inches of him, a mainstay in past years for the set-up? Bull had charged off when he first rolled in, but when he came back and checked in with me, I hit him up with, “I thought we were in Table-Land today. Where’re the materials?”
He showed me a bull-sized grin, and pointed to the pick and the shovel. “I have a special job for you, because I know you are up for the challenge.” Leading the way over to the edge of the embankment that overlooked the area where the big rigs would back huge, refrigerated food storage trailers up close to the base of the incline, he paused. “We need a set of steps leading down, so that old ladies don’t have to worry about tripping on the path,” he explained. We were talking maybe ten steps here.
“Or old dudes, either,” I added. “I am perfectly capable of tripping as well as the best of them. I get a lot of practice.”
“So I want you to cut up those 2 x 12 chunks of fir into 24 inch pieces, and use them as the steps. We’ll get some rebar and anchor them when I get it together to get some on-site,” Bull concluded.
Stifling the chortle that was desperate to escape, I put on my game face and refrained from mentioning that this is exactly what I had been doing earlier that very morning, at home. Talk about landing in my comfort zone. I was even assigned an assistant, a kid who was probably just out of high school, who was anxious to help.
I had seen this kid's dad in action only moments before, as a truck with a utility trailer had backed up to the kitchen, with a refrigeration unit that would have taken four of any of the rest of us to remove from the trailer. David’s dad sauntered up to the upright cooler without so much as glancing to either side, wrapped his mammoth arms around it, and removed it from the trailer as though it were nothing more than a big bundle of bamboo.
Of course, the fact that he was taller than Mid-sized David, and weighed well over 300 pounds might have factored into the whole business. They grow ‘em big in Samoa. In greeting him earlier, I had addressed him simply as, “Uncle.”
|A work in progress...|
Now my assistant and I proceeded to attack the project with enthusiasm. Before the next three hours flew by, we had carved the steps, cut the lumber, and using my little torpedo level, had leveled all the steps so that they were uniform in terms of the rise and the run.
As we worked, folks would use the newly formed steps, commenting frequently, “Wow! They put in steps for us!” You’re most welcome.
Realizing that I was about to kill the job, and desperate to stay working within my comfort zone, I set out to add a railing to the project. You really can’t have steps without a railing for those of us who need a little stabilizing now and again.
If only it were as easy as installing a railing, to stabilize me, but the cannabis helps.
Tomorrow: Meatball Carpentry