We’ve finally finished – except for the ridge cap – shingling the roof on our addition. It’s been about twenty years since I helped shingle a roof and I certainly hope I never will again. My hands and the front of my knees are burned – like a bad sunburn – from the heat of the roof and shingles. (And the back of my knees are raw because when the heat was too much, I wore kneepads and the straps chafed.) I’m all about the girl power and equal rights, but let me tell you, I was so humbled and impressed by my husband and son-in-law’s ability to work far beyond reasonable expectations that I cite Katherine unsarcastically:
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience—
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Painful labor, indeed. And I definitely cop to the “soft and weak and smooth, unapt to toil.”
I’m sure, in a country of 300 million people, there are women roofers. (More power to you, hon.) As for me and my house, I will serve inside as much as possible, in decently conditioned air. Well, I say that, but when it’s time to put the siding up I’ll be out there again. I can’t keep up with the men, but I can help some, and I will. Still, I’d be remiss not to say how much they impressed me, getting this job done in a heat index that often exceeded 100 degrees. And the construction proceeds apace…