Building with Josh

Even though our oldest grandchild is twenty-three now, this is the first time we’ve had a grandkid spend any solo time with us. It’s been worth the wait.

Nineteen now, Josh spent a week with us as a nine-year-old back in 2012, along with his two years older brother, Nathan, and his two years younger cousin, Reese. The high point of that trip was probably the mud fight in Peter’s Creek. Pretty impressive how much mud four kids can sling in a short time, even if one of them is closing in on sixty.

There’s a big flat rock we hauled up from the creek that day that is now laid into the smooth stones of the patio that commemorates that event.

Another, bigger memento from that visit is the twelve-by-twenty deck his brother Nathan helped me build. Josh and I are currently working on an even bigger project now; we are building a twelve-by-twelve loafing shed for the horses. It’s going well so far.

In just three days, we’ve set the seven framing posts, added horizontal stringers for putting up the external siding, and a solid kickwall of 2×10’s up four feet high on the inside. Yesterday afternoon, we added three rafters. Lord willing, we’ll finish the rafters this morning and start installing the roof decking this afternoon.

When we finish, there’ll be a horse shed in a corner of the little pasture, near the north maple tree. It will give the horses a place to get away from the flies on those hot Kansas summer days and a place to shelter from the bitter winds of Januarys on the prairie. Open to the east, it will block the prevailing winds and give at least an out-of-the-rain option should the horses choose it.

As long as it stands, it will function as a reminder of these good days spent working side by side with Josh. There’s not much else that means as much to a man as being able to teach the skills of his hands to a grandson. To share the beauty of perfect autumn days in the shaping of wood, building something good. Something that will make things better for others.

Watching Josh ten feet up in the air on an aluminum ladder, switching to his left hand to hold the driver as he is setting in the screws that fasten a heavy rafter to an even heavier header, I smile a silent prayer of thanksgiving for this good day.

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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