Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Buddy Buck

I have a friend named Joe who goes by the nickname “Buck”. Buck has worked with me for about 5 years and is the single reason why I have stayed in this type business. Without his assistance and unending knowledge of how to fix or assemble things I would have pulled the plug on my business long ago. Buck is a Yankee boy but I have long ago forgiven him for that. Somewhere along the line he figured out that this is God’s country where we live and settled here for good. As I know it he grew up in a family where his father and his uncles all were in the trades. One was a framer, another a mason and tiller but all were in the construction business in one way or another. Buck grew up as an apprentice working in the family’s various businesses and became well versed in all phases of construction work. There is practically no type of project I’m asked to consider that Buck doesn’t have a good working knowledge about. Of late we have had lots of tile jobs and he is an artist in that area. He can cut arches and angles with a wet saw that most people can’t cut with a jig saw….and he still has all his fingers. Like me he really enjoys working with treated pine lumber, building gazebos, arbors, pergolas, decks and fences of all types. I have one particular client that loves all things that lean toward outdoor partying and we have built about everything there is in his yard. At the moment we are starting a big project building some library shelving for a large church. About 5 years ago we turned an empty room into a church library complete with solid oak shelving. This new job is an extension to it. If it will warm up soon we have a big tile job started that we had to leave due to the temperature and rain.

Buck is a large economy size dood, dressing out at about 225 I would guess and stands well over 6 feet tall. His most impressive physical attribute are his massive shoulders that make it seem like he is always wearing shoulder pads when he ain’t. If you could look up the phrase “strong as a bull” in the dictionary I’m sure there would be a picture of Buck. I’m pretty long in the tooth and frequently it taxes my old goat ass to tote my end of what ever he has grabbed up and started off with. It brings to mind one job where we were installing some chain link fence. We had all the posts set and the fence fabric laid out along them and I was thinking that I would rig up some way to use my pickup to stretch the chain link tight and fasten it to the posts. Before I realized what he was doing Buck planted his big feet, grabbed a steel bar and laced it thought the end of the fence, reared back and pulled this fence so tight you could pluck it like a banjo string.

Buck and I share a common love and sense of communication with animals. I’ve never seen him shy away from what ever runs up to the other side of the fence and I notice that almost always they become subdued and get friendly as he locks eyes with them. I think he might be a “dog whisperer” from another life. My border collie “Maggie” works with us most days and she absolutely loves to see Buck come ambling across the yards towards her. Her tail goes into high gear and she has a way of bending in the middle as she hurries toward him.

Surprisingly, Buck who is a real rough and tough character has himself a pretty pert British bird for a bride. I think maybe one time in the past she was pretty “proper” but hanging around Buck and I has taken care of that and now she fits right in with all our redneck friends. She’s a hard working, talented, piece of work and ain’t hard on the eyes either. Still not sure how she and Buck hooked up but I think it had something to do with eight ball pool and cold beer.

As I wrap up my thoughts about Buck I realize I have left out one significant part of his story. You see my buddy Buck is d-e-a-f. That’s as in--never heard it thunder or been able to hear music or any of nature’s wonderful sounds while he sits in the woods, type deaf. Deaf from birth. Until I met Buck it had never dawned on me what life with this handicap would be like. As I have grown to know, admire and love this big galoot it has given me a sense of how blessed those of us that hear really are…and yet Buck deals with it like it might be a small birthmark on his leg. He does everything he wants to do, somehow stays current on whats going on in the world and reminds me frequently of what the weatherman said about tomorrow’s conditions. One time 3-4 years ago I was talking to the Big Guy about a heavy load he had placed on me. This load would be much easier to carry if I somehow spoke Spanish. I was trying to cut a deal with God by telling him I would accept this load he was placing on me if he would let me wake up the next day speaking Spanish and about the time I was ready for the Amen part it dawned on me that maybe I should throw in knowing ASL (Buck’s language) as well. I regret to tell you that the Big Guy turned me down flat so Buck and I are still writing notes. This can sometimes be a pain in the ass to do but with a buddy like Buck it’s no big deal. Crookedpaw