Late to quit smoking |


When I was a kid, every time I did something rude my mother would say, “Were you born in a barn?

No, but I practically lived in one.

The barn on our acre of land was the center of my universe. It was a huge whitewashed building separated into a store and a two car garage with the floors covered with concrete, then the much larger part of the barn had a dirt floor and was open to one side. . It was a barn that housed all the tractors, horses, equipment and drying trays for a large walnut orchard. We lived in the hundred-year-old “Peck place” and the rest of the orchard had been planted in houses.

The barn housed numerous hutches, a laying house for chickens, the inner part of a sheep and pig pen and stalls for two show steers. I also kept my food in the barn, an old horse trailer and my Uncle Buddy’s Model A. It was a beautiful old barn and we found a lot of neat antiques there. The only problem with the barn was that when it rained outside, inside the barn it rained cats and dogs. He needed a new roof or he would soon contract the disease that destroyed many old barns… rotting wood. Termites were the last “Terminator”.

Problem was, we didn’t have the money to pay a roofer to do the job, heck, we barely had enough to foot my old man’s bill at the liquor store! You see, I was the result of a cross between an alcoholic and a workaholic. (Fortunately, I inherited the workaholic gene, not the alcohol gene.) My mom was the hardest working person I have ever met. She was a professional seamstress who worked her fingers to the bone 10-14 hours a day while raising three children. She was also fearless, there was no challenge she was not ready for… including the repair of the roof of our barn. Since my older brother was at West Point, my sister worked at the drugstore, and my old man was busy drinking alcohol, naturally I was recruited to help redo the barn roof.

My mom believed in never hiring someone to do something you were perfectly capable of doing yourself and so am I. My wife and I have never hired a gardener or housekeeper, we paint our own house, work on our own vehicles, and do our own plumbing. For me, working and playing are the same thing. I’m almost 70 years old and still put in long days and hope to never retire. I don’t buy lottery tickets or gamble just in case I can win and be tempted to live a life of leisure. I believe the harder you work, the luckier you have in life.

I was therefore “fully” on the repair of the roof of the barn. When my Uncle Charles, who worked at the lumberyard, announced that a load of shingles had been rejected and that we could have them to transport them, we jumped up. Fifty years ago you weren’t always removing all the old shingles, but just hammering the new ones right on top of the old one and it was pretty common to see roofs four and five layers thick.

We also didn’t have nail guns and the length of the roofing nails was determined by the number of layers to be punched. The only way we had to install the asphalt shingles on the roof was to stand on a small ladder in the bed of our van and put them back a few at a time. We used a chalk line to ‘draw’ a straight line and started from the bottom and worked your way up to the top. We started to work at sunrise and the ‘time to stop’ was when we quit, usually when it was too dark and we started hitting our thumbs with the special roofing hammers which looked more like axes. seen in horror movies.

When we finished the huge roof it not only looked good, it suddenly stopped raining inside the barn. My mom and I finished the barn roof in just three days and we were probably so quick because neither of us were smokers, we weren’t unionized, and we didn’t have cell phones. (Always not.)

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