After an early morning fishing jaunt, Jeremiah and I head back to Ark City. We go by the car wash first, mindful of the watermilfoil infestation warnings at the lake. We wash off the boat, trailer and rear wheels of his high-rise F-150, then head home. With the temperature breaching ninety, we are ready for AC and breakfast.
After the waffles, he begins a couple of pallet projects. About halfway through, he realizes that the spaces in the pallet he is using aren’t wide enough for most wine bottles. We check the single pallet Randa and I have left over from the flagstone delivery. It will work.
Back to the car wash to pressure spray the dirt and grit off the pallet. Back to the house to resume work.
While he works on the wine rack and the other rack, I rake up small branches and other tree litter in the yard. There are also several small chunks of concrete the contractor scattered around when spreading out dirt from the driveway replacement back in the winter. In the intermittent squall of the small circular saw, punctuated by sounds of pounding old nails deeper into oak, both of our projects make progress.
We take a break mid-afternoon to drive over to W. B. Meats on South Summit and pick up ground sirloin for supper. While Randa makes up the patties, I get a small bed of charcoal ready for smoking the burgers. Jeremiah resumes work on the wine rack, having to resolve a couple of challenges presented by slats that won’t quite work as wanted. By the time I get the meat on the grill, he’s figured out a plan that seems likely to work.
An hour before sundown, the burgers are done and the slots are marked for the rack that will hold the glasses. We take a supper break and then resume the wine rack project. Jeremiah engineers a plan for setting the front edge while I cut the slots. Then we work together to fasten everything in place using the brad nailer. In the process, a piece of oak splits off from one of the slats. A bit of glue, a couple of small nails and a clamp take care of that.
We sit on the porch for a while then, the three of us talking and watching smoke from the brazier rise up in the bright moonlight. Around midnight, Jeremiah decides to take a shower and turn in for the night. Randa and I talk a while longer and are surprised to see Jeremiah come back out. “I feel rejuvenated,” he chuckled, “That shower felt pretty good.”
I decide to take a turn and experience a similar result. Since Jeremiah brought his guitar with him, I pull out the twelve-string and we begin playing and singing in the living room. He shows us a couple of songs that he’s learned and then we sing some we all know. The day that started at five-thirty in the morning ends with us singing Jimmy Buffet songs at one-thirty the next morning.
Each tune carries away something of whatever aches and pains remain and brings in their place something soothing. Blues or bluegrass, rock or folk, grunge or gospel, it’s all music and its sharing brings something good between us. This is a key part of who we are and what we do in this family.
For as long as Jeremiah can remember, I have played the guitar and sang songs into the night. I will carry the close comfort and deep warmth of this good night for as long as I can remember. And give thanks for such memories.