Friday, November 18, 2011

Steps Up, Steps Down

Do good and don't worry to whom.

Mexican proverb
Hello Jen
This event happened many years age when I was doing a season of summer theatre. The theatre was located near a beach and there was a pier with two buildings on it. One building had a wooden staircase that led from the pier up to a porch, and inside was the rehearsal area. The morning rehearsal went from 10 until noon. I wasn't involved in it that morning so I was sitting on the pier with my script.

It was a warm, bright summer day. The tide was coming in and as it did an ocean breeze was caressing my cheeks and curling through my hair. The deep, mystic aroma of ocean air was everywhere.

Our Technical Director, Bill, came out of the shop with 4 large planks of fresh lumber, went back inside and came back out with a hand saw, a claw hammer, a saw horse, a bucket of nails and a ruler. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to replace the stairs. I figured that it would be a day's work for him unless he got some help. He politely declined my offer

I'm not sure of the dimensions of those planks of wood, but they were thick and long. Because a power tool would have disturbed the rehearsal going on upstairs, he took a hand saw and, after he had carefully measured everything, he cut 10 identical triangular grooves in both of the larger, thicker boards, about 5 inches each. They were so perfectly cut that when he reached the corner of each one the triangular piece just fell out onto the pier. He also cut the corners off of each board. I kept wondering when his arm was going to fall off.

Then he set them aside and measured the thinner planks and cut 10 identical pieces from them. The he stretched out the two larger planks parallel and braced them against the building. He took the smaller pieces he had just cut and with the hammer and some nails from the bucket, he attached each plank neatly into the grooves he had cut from the large boards. He then lifted the whole thing up and braced it against the porch.

He climbed the old staircase with the hammer and the bucket. He pried the old staircase loose from the porch and let it fall gently on to the pier below. He then pulled over the new one and with large nails attached it to the porch.

He picked up the hammer and bucket and ran down the stairscase he had just erected. He put the tools away and cleaned up the pieces of wood that were left lying on the pier. Then he took the old staircase into the shop to dismantle it.

I was amazed. I said I couldn't believe what he had just done. He said that there was nothing to it, and then added "I'm a good carpenter." I agreed.

In a moment or so the rehearsal stopped and the actors came tromping down a brand new staircase on the way to their break. Nobody knew how it got there, but I did. "There was nothing to it."

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


Jon said...

There are times when I don't leave comments because I am quietly absorbing what you have to say.......

Arlene (AJ) said...

Wow, an interesting blog and very thought provoking to say the least.