It was just an easy job. Replace the roof on the smoke house. It’s just a simple little building with a plywood roof with a metal cap, a smoke hole for the smoke to come out. When Mom and I got home, Caleb and Dad had begun the project. After finally getting the paint out of my hair from painting up at the cemetary, I sat down at the computer to catch up on emails. I heard all this horrendous banging and screeching. I wandered out after I saw Dad head into his house. Time for a lunch break he would have said. Caleb was just finishing up tearing part of the roof off one side of the house.
After talking him into a short lunch break, we went back out and started positioning for the second side. Caleb was prying and whacking and making a horrible racket. Dad and Mom came out the door, mom pulling on her work gloves. The problem was, according to Dad, that they had lost their first smoke house. It simply exploded into bits in the wind. So this one had quite a few more galvanized nails than was seemly. After we all were struggling for quite the while, Mom and I with big pieces of wood that we were using as wedges and levers, Dad with tools and ladder holding, and Caleb making all the pounding and whacking, we were almost to the center of the roof. The plywood on this side was no where near rotten like the first side, and it was not giving up the ghost. Mom and I were stretching ourselves to the limit, me standing on a cement block with my eight foot long 2×4, trying to position it, sliding it into the hard won openings that Caleb was creating, then “exerting a steady, upward pressure”. If you could have seen us all, you would have been rolling on the ground.
Which must have been what prompted Skip Southworth and his friend to come bounding over the lawn, complete with pry bars and tools in their hands, asking if they could help. Good God, yes. A couple of questions about what was going and what was being saved. Presto, chango, I swear in less than five minutes the job was done. My mother is saying, “Who are you guys?” And I tell her, “Mom, it’s Skip.” Skip tells her she probably doesn’t recognize him without his hands full of crab. (He does that, too. Gives seafood to his elders.)
I tell you, the world would be a better place if each one of us would remember that random acts of kindness, in all of their unexpected glory, are what keep a community a thriving, healthy place to live.