One of the wonderful things about our home is that Al’s strong and loving hands actually built the place. Everywhere I look, inside and out, I see the evidence of his artistry.
Anyone who has a relative in construction knows the hard physical labor required to build a house. The hours of hauling and measuring, sawing and hammering.
The slivers in fingers and hands. The bruises. The strained muscles. The blue fingernails from errant hammer strikes.
After riding his motorcycle to the cedar mill outside Portland, Oregon, renting a truck, loading the cedar on the truck and driving it back to our construction sight, he and a helper sided the house and garage, one plank at a time.
I remember helping him with the back wall of the garage. It was a slow and careful task: measuring, then carefully placing the board and holding it in place while he nailed it firm, then measuring for the next board, and so on and so on up the wall about six-and-a-half-inches at a time.
I don’t remember how many days it took for him to side the place, but once all the shiplap cedar siding was on and painted, he finished the four gables with fish scale shingles.
The picture I’ve posted here shows him and his helper shingling the back gable.
They rented the scaffolding from Calaveras Lumber in Angels Camp. Brought it to the construction site, put it together, and shingled a gable. Then took the scaffolding apart, moved it to the next gable, reassembled it and shingled that gable, and so on until all four gables looked beautiful.
When I think about the gables in our house, I think of Al’s artistic work building our home.
And as one thing has a way of leading to another, the thought of gables also brings to mind a favorite book: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. That book and scores of others, are in the process of being packed up. Being taken from their shelves, put into boxes and transported to the garage, where they’ll stay temporarily while potential buyers walk through our rooms, deciding if they’d like to live in them.