Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Cabin - Erection

     Details, as in the beauty of. Way too much of my writing floats along the surface. When the conditions are right I'll get a few strikes of truth. But most often the hooks gotta drop below the surface. That's where most of the fish are. And most of the experiences that color and move a life. You know the ones. The angle of the sun while sitting in a meadow back when you were eight. The taste of horehound cough drops your brother bought you just 'cause he knew you liked them. The cheap ones at the gas station counter for three cents a pop. Yeah, that was sure a long time ago. And a whole lot of negative crud that you have to work out of your system; what they call growing up. "Get used to it."
     So, the cabin. Most of the detail is gone. And a lot of what I remember clearly is wrong. The building and the wood that went into is no problem. On a walkthrough I can tell when, where and any significance of most every board and beam. And I eventually will. But the people, my family. So much happened, based on feeling with no consciousness. So much taken for granted. Spent way too much time wrapped up in myself. Thank God for photos. They at least hint at memory. And, as I sit here, how many visions of the long ago float past my eyes as I stare at the laptop screen.
    So, the cabin. Returned two days later with my brother's youngest son. Framing involves weight, a lot of it. Rob proved an asset lifting walls and beams. Driving nails and providing company. Don't know about him but I sure had a great time.
     Rob wasn't but fifteen as I recall. Don't exactly know why he came along. Don't know if he knew either. When I picked him up he'd just gotten off the school bus and was starting summer vacation. Could have been doing most anything. Or nothing. Yet he was heading up north with his weird Uncle Mark. Fifteen was a tough age back in the last century. Too old to be a kid, though the desire to be one was alive and kicking. Too young to be an adult and wouldn't know what to do about it if you were. Definitely old enough to get into big trouble. His Mom had died less than four years earlier. She was the heart of my brother's family. Life revolved around Marilyn. Her passing hit the four children like a hammer. Don't think any of them ever got over it. Don't think any of them ever will. The world turns on a dime. One morning you wake up half an orphan. Phht! Rob's hurt probably still had a raw edge in '81. Having him in the woods driving nails was good for both of us. Was also expecting the arrival of a good friend. Maybe.
     Most every time I've picked up a hammer or saw, it meant either bending over or standing on stuff I shouldn't have. And doing stuff up there that wasn't smart. A good back and a lack of common sense were my friends. Two sixteen pennies in each end and three eight pennies toe-nailed in each stud. Frame the windows and doors.  Section by section she rose. Hammer 'em down and brace them. Vertical and square. 'Bout the time the main floor was done and we were thinking about the fun of the loft, my friend David appeared. Drove an ancient VW Microbus with Sans Souci handwritten on the side by a previous owner. Could also have had Sans Money written beneath.
     Me and Dave had been best friends 'til the military split us up. Came close to the same in the years after. He could have been most anything he set his mind to. As it was, his choice was having as much free time as possible. And at that, he was a master. Also was beyond talented at figuring stuff out. He could see the logic in the way things were put together. Dave had no real training in things mechanical. However, he once broke the blown engine in one of his old beaters down to the guts, found and replaced the broken rod then put 'er back together with no left over parts. If that wasn't enough, the car actually ran.
     The active part of the day ran from sunrise to dark. Included work and a little fishing On a nearby lake. We trespassed on a magnificent piece of land at the end of a mile long peninsula. Undeveloped and up for sale at a quarter million. Lot of 1981 dollars. There I saw my first Pink and Showy Ladyslippers, Minnesota's state flower. Mostly Dave fished, Rob explored and I threw rocks. All the while the cabin grew. By the end of seven weeks summer vacation and nearly every weekend, the cedar roof was on and the cabin buttoned up. Most every step along the early way was done with the help of friends. The never ending finish work was up to Lois and I.  But this was just phase one. No sooner had we finished then the addition began. At times I thought of this becomimng our Winchester House. Keep adding on or our lives would end. Seems like we'll run out of gas before our car quits.

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