The Midnight Climber

There are certain sounds that seem to filter in gradually, a sort of faintly emerging consciousness that eventually reaches a point of actual awareness. Maybe it’s the sound of light rain falling while we’re busy in the house. It might be the drone of a distant airplane that never gets near enough for us to see it. It’s certainly not something like the sound of a certified NASCAR stock racer firing up in the neighbor’s driveway at 4:30 in the morning.

That sound goes into an entirely different category, one that is not the subject of this brief reflection.

There is another category of sounds that are not loud and obnoxious and yet immediately grab our attention. Such sounds would include the creaking of floorboards during the night when you are sleeping in what you thought was an empty house. The sound of a small child’s stirring about in the next room in the middle of the night. Sounds that you know deserve your prompt attention.

Another sound that at least relates to those but might deserve its own category is the sound of water dripping down the furnace vent while it’s raining. That one will catch your attention right handily, especially when you can hear it even when your hearing aids are lying on top of the dresser. That’s the sound that lead to me climbing up onto the roof at eleven o’clock, soon after the Royals managed to lose their third game in a row.

That sound subsequently had me driving over to Wal-Mart at eleven-oh-seven to see if they had any of that roof patching stuff that you can apply even when it’s wet. They did, indeed.

And so it was, boys and girls, that Grandpa Badger found himself climbing back up the step-ladder in the rain on the back porch for the third or eighth time around midnight with a big bucket of everything he needed to patch the leak. Everything except for the old towel he needed to wipe off the excess water and quite frankly, all of it seemed a bit excessive at the time. So the fourth or ninth trip provided the towel.

I scraped off the silicon caulking that had been put around the joint of the vent pipe and the roof flange during a lull in a border skirmish during the Cherokee Strip Land Rush. Then I pumped out enough roof patching to fill that joint and three others and carefully smoothed it all around the pipe with an old putty knife. By the way, any putty knife becomes “old” when used for such purpose. Thankfully, not one person drove by to see some old fool on top of the roof at midnight with a big white bucket and a flashlight.

While I was up there I went ahead and cleaned out the old leaves, twigs and junk that had been blocking the downspout on the northwest gutter. When the Lord provides an unexpected opportunity for elevated maintenance at an unexpected time, I figure you might as well make the most of it. I will say there was another benefit.

Every time I climbed up that wet six-foot-tall step-ladder and had to stand on the very top of it so I could just barely get my knee up onto the wet roof, my prayer life notched its way up a bit. Almost as much as it notched up when I was getting back off the wet roof. Some situations that bring us close to the Lord seem like they might provide a greater and more permanent closeness than what we were looking for at the time.

Turned out, this wasn’t one of them, and I’m okay with that. At least for the time being…

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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