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Our Trip to Spain

Our Trip to Spain

(Spent, Literally, in Vermont, August 31st to September 2nd, 2009)


   Bob Behr’s alluring prospectus for a Williams Alumni Travel event to Spain arrived recently and had us eager to sign up.


   But our little cabin in Vermont had other plans.  For a couple of years we have been frustrated by roof leaks which local handymen seemed unable to stanch.  One morning after a storm the previous night we woke up to rain drops falling gently on our clothes in the bedroom.


   We drove to Williamstown (no, not that one, the other one, the one in Vermont) and sought an estimate from Pat Burrell, third generation roofer with a well-established firm. 


   His estimate for a double-locked standing seam metal roof, installed over a layer of ice and moisture resistant bituthene, after removing all of the old roofing, came to… the approximate cost of the trip to Barcelona, including airfare, hotels, and buses. 


   No brainer: for love of the next generation we plunked our money down on metal and bituthene.  

    Not, of course, before checking out Pat’s credentials.  Lo and behold, we found two people for whom Burrell had provided roofs fairly recently.  One, a neighbor in West Hartford and in Vermont (Williamstown Gulf), now moving to New Zealand for four years, reported that the Burrell firm was “very professional, if pricey.”  The other witness, a college roommate with a summer place in Randolph VT, added how pleased he was with Burrell’s work on his old and very large barn.




   Herewith is a photographic essay of our “trip to Spain” interspersed with comments relevant, irrelevant, theological, and ironic. 


    I doubt many would worry (as I apparently have) over the deafness to Jesus’ admonitions implicit in our purchase of a new roof.  The Galilean preacher did tell disciples not to worry about tomorrow.  He did tell disciples not to build up treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break in and steal, all of which (nature’s and humanity’s insults) have been our experience up north.  Nothing specific, however, about water corrupting; but had the Lord lived in Vermont he might have added that detail. 


On the other hand, he did tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves; and that category, “neighbors,” includes the nearest and dearest others, the ones who share our lives most intimately.  Like children and grandchildren: for whom the new roof’s thirty-five year material guarantee is hoped to serve well.  If Jesus had had children and grandchildren, perhaps he would be more sympathetic with our plight of a leaky roof.


   As I looked through the shrinkage cracks in the roof boards over the main room, I ransacked my memory for some recollection of nailing the sheathing into place.  No memory was forthcoming, and I certainly couldn’t visualize doing it again, not at my age!  Time passes, memory fades: ah, the erosions of mortality, sometimes worse than the corrupting influence of moth and rust. 


   The roofing crew referred to our cabin as “the old lady.”  They were pleased that our doyenne received a much-needed face-lift.  The roof beams also sighed in relief for the removal of so much asphalt.  We shall have less to worry about when word reaches us down south of the build up up north of winter snows.  Three and a half tons went off, and only one ton went back on.


   The Burrell Roofing accountant, who remains stationed in Williamstown, where he does the paperwork and metal cutting, worried some initially that the work crew might be unruly and uncouth (he didn’t quite say it that way). I tried to allay his fears with the comment that I have known roofers and know that they are hard-living, hard-working, hard-drinking, and rough-speaking lot; so I would be prepared.  Then the accountant offered a second thought that, oh well, you have the metal crew and they are polite… mostly.  They were… entirely.


   Here’s “the old lady,” now a beauty queen, front and back. 


   The trip to Spain was well worth it. 



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