An ambitious April sunrise was tickling a snow covered corner on the A-framed roof of my home. Winter was ending. Its remnants were dwindling with each day’s rising temperatures. My rooftop was a welcome sight. I smiled; remembering the summer my dad and son helped put a new covering over our lives.
“Daddy, I wanna help too.” I recalled my little seven-year-old, Johnny, pleading as he tugged on my trousers.
“Not this year, Slugger. Pa and I are going do it. The roof is kind of high.”
“Pauley,” that’s what Dad called me, “the high roof is exactly why the boy needs to help. You can’t have him growing up being afraid.”
“Yea, Daddy, I’m not afraid.”
I could see I was outnumbered. My wife was still hibernating in the house to be of any help in winning the debate. Cindy was allergic to fresh air. It reminded her of life. She gave up on that concept the winter before when our daughter lost her life off an icy bridge. Cindy would not want Johnny up on the roof.
“I know you’re not afraid, Slugger. I’ll tell you what. You can climb up and down the ladder and bring us things we need. I’ll let you nail some tiles near the eaves.”
The boy’s smile lit up. My dad patted me on the back.
We had just started the job when I spotted my dad pulling Johnny up on the roof.
“What are you doing, Dad?”
My father just sat there with a big grin. “Well, come get him then.”
As I began climbing down from the chimney I could see Dad whispering in Johnny’s ear. As I was just about to reach them, Johnny took off up to the peak of the roof.
“See what you started, Dad. Now, how am I going to get him down?”
“You’re just going to have to go up and get him.”
“We’ll talk later,” I said to my dad and hiked back up the roof.
As I was sitting up on the peak of the house, holding Johnny, I took a minute to look down the winding road that leads to our home. I could see the bridge at the bottom of the hill where my daughter…
“Hey, Cindy, you better come on out here. Your husband has Johnny up on the roof.”
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard my Dad yell. I don’t think I blinked my startled eyes more than twice before I heard my wife burst out the front door of our home. She stood below us, hands on her hips, eyes wild.
“Paul, you get Johnny down here right now. You hear me? Right now.”
It was the first time she had ventured outside in six months. I glanced quickly again at the bridge. When I looked back down I saw Johnny tumbling. My boy lost his balance and was rolling off the roof. Dad reached for him and missed. A second later he was in my wife’s arms. She caught him. I couldn’t believe it.
“Praise God,” I could hear my dad proclaim.
I scooted down the roof as fast as I could. In a minute all four of us were exchanging hugs.
Johnny looked at my dad. “I guess your idea worked, Pa.”
I shot a wicked glance towards my father who shrugged his shoulders.
“Falling off the roof wasn’t part of the plan.” My dad blushed.
“Guess what, Mom?”
“Tell me, Johnny.” My wife whispered, hugging him tight.
“You can see the bridge from up there. They have the sides fixed and everything.”
I can still remember the tears trickling from Cindy’s eyes; like melting spring snow dripping from my eaves.
She ended up climbing the roof with Johnny and sitting on the peak with him staring at the bridge.
“Hey, Pa,” my son yelled from above.
“Yes, boy,” my dad answered.
“I love you. You were right. God had a special shingle for this roof. It‘s Mom.”
I gave my dad a big hug and whispered thanks.
The shutting of the front door snapped me back from my memories. My wife and son were walking towards me.
As Johnny reached my side, he too looked up at the roof.
“You know, I like the spring. It reminds me of Pa. Do you think he knew we could see the bridge from up there?”
My wife spoke up, smiling. “I’m sure he did, Johnny, I’m sure he did.”
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