On the first day, after we’d been at work for a bit, this old guy comes over with his wife to see what’s going on. He sort of sidles up to the edge of the piers we’ve set, just as we’re starting to mix the concrete. “Looks like it’s decision time or something,” he fairly hollers. He must be 75 or 80. Burly. Shakes my hand and it’s like grabbing a tree branch. “I run by the name-a Hoss,” he says. Jerks a thumb over his shoulder: “And that’s my wife – she runs by the name-a Elaine.” Run by the name-a. I have never heard that before. Sounds like some kind of old-school motorcycle talk. He is Mr. Bergeron, and he has a wood shop up the street where he makes, among other things, elaborate cutting boards from scrap wood. This is Wimberley, Texas, where the bumper stickers says “Oops” with the same O’s from Obama’s hope sticker. The Blanco River flows through Ash’s parents’ back yard. Pecan trees tower above, their dark branches like cracks in the moonlit sky. We’ve brought the dogs. I’m so happy to have every day to spend with them instead of feeling like I’ve ditched them again, like I do every day to go to work. We’ve slept in the truck together every night, but Ash is eager for a real bed tonight so I might relinquish. The house is great and the bedroom’s comfortable. But to be honest, I’d prefer to be packed into the bed of the truck with 150 pounds of dog, covered in sawdust, breathing the cool river air. Like the old guy said, it’s decision time.
There’s something about driving across state lines with a level you know you’ll use on the other side. I feel like I should have bought an old gun rack to hold it, like the old timers did in North Carolina. (A lot of them had an old cane on the second rung.)
A better shot of my helper.
Morning of the second day — overcast and rainy. But the concrete was dry(ish.)
End of the second day.
And the finished product.