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Mr. Reliable & The Biscuit Boys

April 5, 2012

Two or three weeks ago, I posted about the collapsing old metal building on the commercial lot behind me.

Well, a few days ago a couple of very focused hard working men started tearing down the building by hand. Now personally, I can’t think of anything much worse that dismembering a wobbly mess of very old wood and sharp rusty sheet metal one piece at a time. Most of the rest of the developed world agrees, which is why we usually see a massive beast of diesel and hydraulics pull these down in great chunks and the whole mass removed by tandem dump trucks in a couple of hours.

Obviously someone had rights to salvage the old wood and metal, and I needed some weathered metal roofing for the second shed I have half way constructed. I needed to find the person who controlled the bounty.

Saturday I noticed a third man who had the look of that steady reliable rural handy man/contractor type who are valuable contacts when in a jam. He was assisting mainly by supervising consumption by the other two of a hefty bag of sausage biscuits. As I approached, the biscuit boys looked up, gave a slight nod of acknowledgment then went back to devouring their heart-attack-in-bag (they both just slightly missed having “normal” body proportions and projected the odd combination of malnourishment and super human strength. Visualize claymation type animation using beef jerky and you have it pictured about right.)

Based on the “at ease” body language of the three it seemed I might have some credibility with them if I didn’t blow it. I think it was mostly based on my appearance; my double front canvas Carhartt pants have worn through above the knees, plus I had been mud-wrestling some of the last boxwoods to be moved and therefore was hands down at least 50% filthier than even the two biscuit eaters. A bonus was that my hair was in the style of Nick Nolte’s mug shot albeit slightly shorter and grayer. (By comparison most dads would let their teenage daughter drive away with either one of the Biscuit boys while calling the police if I were within 500 yards of them.)

I sealed the deal when I announced that I had diligently protected their salvage project by running two boys out of the rubble the evening before; they all shook their heads in disapproval when I told them of the boys’ mother just sitting in her SUV next door talking on her cell phone. One biscuit eater paused to interject that “his ma would have whupped him if he done that” and I was in like flint.

It seems the third man had salvage rights and they were stacking the materials up and hauling them to his barn. It turns out we have a mutual friend who he thinks quite a lot of and eventually the time was right to inquire about a striking a deal for maybe a half dozen pieces of the metal roofing. He sized me up a little then asked how many I thought I needed and said he’d be back Monday and maybe we could work something out.

As Biscuit I handed another beam out of the rubble to Biscuit II on the truck, Mr Reliable and I chatted for while on weather, gardens and old houses. I led him to the critter hole (the LARGE critter hole) that had been dug out into the foundation of the remaining metal building; we speculated what could be coming and going through the dark hole a few yards behind my back fence. Gophers? Groundhogs? Honey Badgers? We decided we’d let whatever it was remain a mystery and then each of us got back to work. Mr Reliable really was a nice guy, a salt of the earth friendly type.

Well, I missed him Monday and Tuesday evenings (god forbid I come home at lunch at let him and the biscuit boys see me in a starched white shirt and tie) and tonight the place was fenced and by comparison pretty impressively cleaned up. (This picture is from the same vantage point as before)

Disappointed I went on to my project for the moment which was to remove the poly from each end of the hoop house, itself a pretty anticlimactic end to the winter that wasn’t:

As I went to remove the back poly, I found that I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me, a stack of seasoned roofing that had been quietly slipped over the back gate in my absence today:

All the time I was expecting to pay him something for this, a few dollars for the lot (vs $140 or so for new metal), and he just gave it to me. I’ll track him down through our mutual friend to thank him and make sure he knew I was intending to pay him (I’m pretty sure he won’t take any money for it and would be insulted if I press too hard.)

And that’s the story of Mr Reliable and the Biscuit boys.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2012 6:32 am

    Very entertaining read Cohutt!

  2. April 5, 2012 9:14 am

    I like it. Perhaps you’ll get a chance to return the kindness sometime in the future… life is funny that way.

  3. April 5, 2012 12:34 pm

    There ya go…they had good generous hearts after all.

  4. clay permalink
    April 8, 2012 8:39 pm

    need a follow up on the honey badger living in your back alley

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