Last weekend Greg’s parents, Anne and Gray, stopped by the blue house and red barn to check on progress and deliver lunch. They are pretty taken with the old place though perhaps a little concerned with the scale of their son’s undertaking. So, it’s gratifying to know they see progress where they once saw problems.
Walls have been demolished so sunlight plays throughout the main floor all day; the worst of the crumbling, mildewed plaster is now gone, along with every scrap of carpet and linoleum – thanks in large measure to the able efforts of our friend Gregor and his teenage son Finn.
Greg’s careful installation of new basement beams has eased the sag of the kitchen floor. Masking tape and figures scrawled on lath boards with carpenter’s pencil show the location of new bathroom fixtures, bigger kitchen windows and patio doors to the water.
In the barn, the shop vac has been pushed to new limits to suck up decades of grime, the various nesting materials of squirrels and tiny skeletal remains from unlucky victims of long winters with no food. New strings of globe lights swing from the barn’s four corners to meet in the middle, casting a welcoming glow over future barn gatherings already taking shape in our minds.
This place is slowly becoming ours.
Recently, Gray gave Greg a horseshoe he had found lying in a field many years ago. The sizeable shoe once protected the hoof of a draught horse back when a horse’s strength and work ethic were indispensable to any farmer. “Hang it over the barn entrance for luck,” Gray instructed Greg.
Gray’s upbringing was not always lucky, having lost his father at a young age and incurred some injuries from youthful misadventures – not the least of which was a fall from a would-be Tarzan rope onto the mowing machine at his family farm in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
If asked, though, Gray would likely say he has been more lucky than not these 80-odd years: a nice home, a long marriage and three good sons to show for it. We’re happy to take his luck and make it our own.