Shared work is half the work

Our story so far: We began the demolition phase at the 126-year-old Methodist church we acquired to turn into our house.

# # #

Churches have saints, and our saint was St. John.

Even Jesus couldn’t do everything by himself. He gathered twelve apostles, among the first was John, one of the sons of Zebedee. Our St. John was a follower, too, an excellent follower of Tyler’s orders.

The third time we visited the church, after making an offer on it but two months before we actually closed the deal, Tyler and I visited the local grocery store. It was really just a glorified convenience store that had made a name for itself selling bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins, but hey, we could get sugar or a can of soup or, heck, a beer in a pinch. Tyler quizzed the cashier as we departed.

“Do you know anyone looking for work?”

She gave him a bewildered look. Maybe she thought he was asking something nefarious.

“I’m renovating a building, and I need some help.”

“Help? Like what kind of help?”

“You know carrying things, moving things around, demolition. That kind of thing.”

“Hmm, I don’t know.” She made a show of looking like she was thinking about various fellows who would be willing to carry things.

“Well, if you think of anyone, would you give them my number?”

“Sure,” she said, taking Tyler’s name and number on a slip of paper. “Maybe I know someone.”

I chided Tyler as we left the store. “Why do you think the cashier is the only person in town who knows people who do manual labor?” I asked.

“She’s the only person in town I talked to!”

“No one is ever going to call you. She threw that piece of paper away as soon as we left the store.”

“Well, maybe so, but it can’t hurt to ask.”

Lo and behold, a guy called Tyler a few days later. Introduced himself as Johnny and said he heard Tyler needed some help on a building project.

“See!” Tyler told me later.

At the time, we were hoping to close on the church in a matter of days. We didn’t know it would take weeks. So he told Johnny to give him a call in three or four days. Every single time, Johnny followed through. He called three or four days later, and Tyler filled him in on the latest delay.

We couldn’t be so lucky, I thought, to find a guy in the very town we were buying a property who would be willing to be Tyler’s hired man.

But sure enough, Johnny showed up in his work clothes on Day Two, and boy, could he work. And best of all, he was the most cheerful order taker I’d ever seen.

“Move that.” “Take that over there.” “Help me pick this up.” “Take that apart.”

Whatever Tyler asked, Johnny carried out.

While carrying loads of garbage, I lowered my voice and told Johnny I hoped it was OK, taking Tyler’s orders (I’m not implying I was irked to be taking orders, please don’t misunderstand).

“No, we get along great,” Johnny chirped. “We’re on the same wavelength.”

If Johnny wasn’t a saint, he was an angel.

# # #

Tomorrow: Check out our first before-and-after pictures. Read it here.

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