When you first meet them, they seem like regular guys, like folks you might bump into at Lowe’s or in a hardware store.
I have many memories of an older brother who was a fix-it boy with his bike. In time, I married such a man who could fix any lawnmower or truck. At least, that’s how it seemed to me.
Those are the kind of people that are do-it, fix-it people. They know how to put things together without reading instructions or a recipe. How do they do that?
My mother was one of those people. She could fix her iron if it quit working. She taught me how to press clothes on an ironing board, but I do not remember lessons on how to fix an iron.
Over the course of my life, I never got much involved in fixing anything. I was drawn to books and remained faithful to them. However, I remained highly impressed by those who could fix things. A gift from God, in my opinion.
Always, I was grateful for a husband who was a fixer.
Then last week we had a leak over the window.
My husband did as I expected—he took a portion of our porch apart, trying to find the source of the leak. Shaking his head, he said, “No way that the leak is coming from here. It’s tight.”
Suddenly, it came to him. “It must be blowing in overhead…from the roof.”
Then he placed the extension ladder in position.
We both knew his climbing-on-the-roof days were over. Of course, there’s no way in the round world I’d entertain it.
Our neighbor looked at it and said, “You need a monkey.”
“Just leave the ladder,” I said. “It’ll be okay. Some young and fearless person will eventually appear and caulk whatever needs caulking.”
We went inside and left the two-legged ladder leaning against the house.
At work the next day, Jimmy mentioned getting suction cups for his tennis shoes. His bosses said, “Don’t even think about it.”
That evening my husband’s young employers appeared at our door, saying they were here to fix the roof. I grinned from ear to ear. I was fairly calm on the outside, but I was wildly happy and mutely singing on the inside.
Everyone soon had iced tea in hand, but no one had actually sat down before one of our visitors said, “First, let’s see your roof.”
Turns out that Cody had once worked in construction and was looking forward to being on a rooftop. He fearlessly scaled the roof and started caulking where my husband directed, and then he checked that entire area. Meanwhile, on the ground, there was some horsing-around, boy-talk, laughter between my husband and Aaron.
Cody and Aaron made light of the fact that they’d driven 25 miles south out of their way, after their workday, to locate our home. It was a holy act, in my opinion.
After we came back inside the house, I watched and listened to the interactions among the three men. They were into their playful “boy-language,” a language I do not possess. They probably started birthing that artful language early in adolescence like our sons did. Such things cannot be rushed.
The entire fix-it process took no more than 10-l5 minutes, but what impressed me was how excited these young men were to climb the ladder, caulk the insect holes in the foam, and interact with each other and with my husband. They looked like God’s shining agents to me.
Jimmy had spoken before about how these young men were pros at handling every aspect of their business. This is a high compliment from a relatively old man about young employers.
These two guys used their talents that evening to fix the leak in our roof. (It rained last night—and no water inside the window!) They helped me remember how extravagantly blessed we are when we come across young men and women who genuinely enjoy helping those of us who suddenly run into another limitation.
Our hearts were smiling. We sent them off with a loaf of my homemade zucchini bread. Small payment for the help and joy they brought us.
Cody and Aaron, two fix-it guys. Photographed by Pat Durmon, August 2022.
Poetry Books by Pat Durmon
Lights and Shadows in a Nursing Home