May 25, 2013

The secret dock project

The scene.>

Docks don’t last forever in the north country: the ice in the winter and the flooding in the spring take their toll. The dock that my father built years ago at our family camp had begun to buckle and bow, the boards beginning to rot. It was time to be replaced.

Of course, in my family, any project quickly becomes a challenge. Blond Brother-in-law and I decided that we — that is, the younger generations —  should try to rebuild the dock without my parents knowing. That meant we would need to time our efforts carefully, and build the whole thing in a single day.

The secret dock project involved scores of secret emails and text messages, a truckful of lumber, and at least ten family members. But we pulled it off.

The classic sledge hammer shot.Last Saturday, when my parents left camp, they didn’t realized that they were saying goodbye to the dock that had stood in the cattails for many years. But back in Blond Brother-in-law’s backyard, the new dock had already begun to take shape. He’d assembled the dock sections, bought the new posts, and filled his truck with all the necessary tools. In the cool of the evening, we gathered in his driveway to lift the dock sections onto a trailer.

The next morning, we drove the hundred miles to camp. By mid-morning, the work crew had assembled at the old dock. Blond Brother-in-law unloaded his tools and explained what we needed to do. Boy-in-Black took charge of the sledge hammer and began pounding in the new posts. Blonde Niece began removing old posts and piling them in the wood pile. Smiley Girl, it turns out, is good with a claw hammer: we began tossing her any old piece of wood that needed nails removed. Shaggy Hair Boy, my husband, and I helped wherever we were needed.

By the end of the afternoon, we were all wet and muddy. Shaggy Hair Boy had exhausted his supply of That’s What She Said jokes. But we’d done the job. The new dock stood in the marsh, about thirty feet long and gleaming the way new wood does.

 When my parents drove up to camp on yesterday, they weren’t suspecting a thing. But I got a phone call within minutes of their arrival. They were pleased and surprised and completely baffled as to how we built it so fast. When I get to camp this morning, I’ll show them all the photos I’ve got on my laptop: documentation of a job well done.

The new dock awaits.</


Whoosh... said...

wow - that's awesome! What a great surprise!

undine said...

Beautiful new dock!

Flavia said...

Love this. Here's to many more happy summers!

Rana said...

You sneaky and clever things, you! What a great looking dock. :)

susan said...

Sneaky and awesome, you all are!

kathy a. said...

just wonderful!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

YAY! This story made me cry.

Jeff C. said...

Great story and wonderful family effort to pull this off.

Kyla said...

That is awesome!