Stone cold

Our story so far: Stone for the fireplace, rock for the countertops, now we only needed to wrap up the concrete for the garage of the 126-year-old Methodist church we were turning into our home.

# # #

Meanwhile, the concrete finishers were working on Tyler’s Garage Mahal, or at least the foundation for it.

back steps
The new back steps look like they were there the whole time.

With the footings poured, the concrete artists built the new back steps before proceeding with the pouring the foundation. Tyler, you’ll recall, jackhammered the top of the existing concrete steps to the basement for a new landing and new top steps. The finishers performed meticulously. When they completed their work, these pièces de résistance were the straightest, most level steps in the entire church!

While mighty fine, this stairway wouldn’t be complete until we had a walkway over the basement entry so we could exit out of the main-floor back door. Tyler considered building a wooden walkway over the bottom steps, but he decided he wanted something less deep so people using the back steps had less of a chance of dinging their head on the way down. To accomplish this structural feat, he would need a steel walkway.

As luck would have it, we drove by the back door of a workmanlike shop the next day on our way from the counter top store. It was just after 7 o’clock (we started early that day). Tyler pulled to an immediate stop when he saw a black leather apron-clad man standing in the doorway, taking a breather (he got an early start, too). His dog, menacing but beautiful, growled at us.

“What do you do here?” Tyler asked. It was just a question, but coming out of Tyler’s mouth, it sounded like a demand.

The guy stared at him for a moment, perplexed and maybe a little irked to be grilled by a passersby when he just wanted to enjoy a lull in the early spring morning.

“Whaddya mean?”

“I mean, what kind of work do you do here?”

“Fabrication,” the guy answered, still not impressed with being questioned.

“Perfect.” Tyler threw the truck into park and exited, greeting the dog with a “Hey, boy!”

I watched as Tyler explained he was looking for someone to build a steel platform for a walkway in our church. Like the dog who appreciated Tyler’s scratch behind the ears, the apron-clad man seemed to soften when he realized Tyler could be a customer.

“Sure, just stop by when you have some dimensions with you,” the guy said as Tyler departed.

Maybe every little village I’ve ever lived in has had a steel fabricator in town like the blacksmiths of old, and I just didn’t know it because I never had need for one. But I found this encounter to be another stroke of serendipity. When Tyler climbed back into the pickup so pleased he’d found a fabricator only four blocks from the church, I just looked at him, amazed.

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Tomorrow: So smooth you can see your reflection in it. Read about it here.

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