I was around building because most churches dad pastored he built additions or remodeling. I spent some of my childhood cleaning and stacking debris or straightening nails for reuse (definitely a job of the past!)
I made bird houses, scooters and wagons. Luke Tucker a man I admired, gave me my first job as a carpenter. His son Vondale and I were close friends. I learned a lot from that soft spoken man. One of the first things I learned was how to open my (warm) coke with my hammer handle(smile).
I spilled my nails from my apron once, and was picking them up. He stopped looked at me and asked, “Jackie, what am I paying you?”
“75¢ an hour.”
“The nails cost me 9¢ a pound, don’t waste my time any more, let ‘em lay. We might get ‘em when we clean up.” He taught me comparative costs.
He also taught me a love for solid timber and beautiful paneling. Not the cheap paneling you see today. When he didn’t know I was watching, he might be sliding his hand over some piece of walnut or oak.
“Jackie, there is a whole college worth of information on this framing square, you need to learn it.”
Luke was absolutely right, you would have to see an old framing square. Knowing how to use it you can build any roof, and cut any stairs. It gives the length of rafters, both angles and the bird’s mouth (a cut that fits the rafter to the plate). Luke was easy to admire, he never had a new truck, ‘don’t need one’ he said.
I admired watching him cut those angles, I never mastered the framing square like the old men did, but I got by. After Luke retired and I had quit running all over the world, I came back and was in the building business. He called one day and asked if I would build and addition for him. I was thrilled.
I drove over to look at the job. No problem simple job. “One thing Jackie, if you take the job you have to hire Wendy, she will do good and wants the job.”
Wendy was Vondale and Rose’s daughter.
She and I worked well together, and she was no slacker, that girl worked. WE were all satisfied with the job.
Trees produced the timber, that produced the lumber that gave me the best times of my life at work. A job that I hated to leave at the end of the day and could hardly wait for Monday morning so I could start again.
I hope in your life you have found that ‘nitch’, that job that not only supported you, but you loved.