03 October 2007

A story about my dad

In honor of my dad's upcoming fight with cancer, I thought I would share our favorite story of us together.

When I was 16, my dad put a new roof on the house. He's been everything from a general contractor to a fire chief, so this was our normal. One day I was up on the roof helping him. I think I was just pulling nails, I don't quite remember.

My parents house sits on a lake. The front of the house has HUGE picture windows. They had taken their fair share of abuse, birds bouncing off of them, brothers throwing pinecones, etc.

My dad was trying to get the last truss pushed off of the roof. It was just the truss but it was a little too heavy for him to push alone so he called me over to help. Now, I am fine with heights as long as I am not on the edge. This required me to be on the edge.

So, reluctantly, on the count of one, two, three...we pushed.
As happens in most accidents, the world slowed to stop-motion speed.

We watched the truss fall and then take a shuddering left turn and down toward the house.


There goes two picture windows, in one shot.

My dad looked at me like, and perhaps even said, "oh shit." He scooted back up to the center of the roof, sat down, took out a cigarette and said "Let's stay up here awhile."

In the ensuing silence, we hear my mom. Thud, thud, thud, thud. We listen to her footsteps to the door. "DAMMIT FRED!" she yells.

He said something like "I know, it was an accident." and my mom lost her mind. She went on rant, reasonably so. Finally, my dad unwisely replies, "What do you want me to do, glue it back together?" I remember biting back a burst of laughter, so far she was only mad at him and I wanted to keep it that way.

You could actually see the fuming silence rise up to the roof. Her response was a house-shaking door slam and shortly thereafter the sound of the vacuum cleaner. I am sure there was much muttering and cursing.

I don't remember much else about the day. Just vividly my dad ever-so-calmly taking out a smoke, waiting for the armageddon that was going to be my mother.

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