Saturday, January 19, 2008

Journeys and Destinations

Mary reports: Friday dawned sunny and bright and nippy. We gathered in the lobby, munching on the bagels, boiled eggs, juice, coffee and cereal we'd enjoyed all week and tried to focus on the day ahead and not on the fact that this was our last day of work.

We got to the site a little earlier than usual and began finishing up some chores from Thursday while awaiting the arrival of the shingles which would be delivered via conveyor to the roof. Once they arrived and were stowed along the ridge line the roof crew went up to begin, what turned out to be, for me at least, the most fun job of the week--nailing on the lovely gray architectural shingles. We began with a line of about 12 of us laying and nailing (6 nails per shingle) courses of them starting at the edge and moving backwards up the roof. Once we got the first 6 or 7 courses on we had the option of changing sides from sliding backwards on our rears up the roof or moving to the downward side and working on our knees facing the shingles. I tried the downside for three courses but found that, being left-handed I was constantly working across myself as the nailing was going left to right. I changed and finished my stint of nearly four hours on the upper side. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The siding was beginning to go up, and everything was looking really good. We had been told by the Habitat supervisors on site that we had done excellent work all week.

About 10 o'clock the first of our group, Tom, Vicki and Pete, were taken to the airport by Gail. We waved to them from the roof and began to feel that we were actually going to have to leave this place which had become so familiar to us during this week and which we had begun to refer to as "our house".

After the lunch break Gail took Joanne W., Callie and me back to the motel to shower and gather our things in preparation for getting a cab to the airport for our 2:40 flight.

I really hated to leave, as did the other early departers. We had tried to change our tickets in order to stay as long as we could, but things didn't work out so that we could do that.

As we got into the Friday midday traffic, Gail was fearing for our ability to get cleaned up, catch a cab and get to our plane on time; so she declared that if we could do all we needed to do in the motel and be back out front in "Fifteen minutes, ten would be better", she'd wait and take us to the airport. I don't know about the others, but I have little or no memory of the burst of energy which propelled me into my room and shower and somehow had me stuffing my suitcase in the back of Gail's car in the time she'd given us. We weren't sure that the fact that Gail had not removed her hard hat during the trip in to the motel and was still wearing it was any indication of the kind of ride we were in for or not, but she got us there with time to spare, and we made our flight to Atlanta.

This proved to be the easy part of the day.

We arrived in Atlanta and saw Callie on her way. She had a flight to Portland from there, but we were scheduled to go to Detroit, then to Bangor, arriving in Bangor at 11:05 pm. Wanna bet?

Walking down the line of gates we passed Pete going the other way. He was, it turned out, on our flight to Detroit. After getting something to eat, we waited for the flight to Detroit.

On arriving in Detroit, Joanne and I checked with the attendant at the gate for directions to our connecting flight and were told there was no problem in our making the connection and given directions to the gate. When we got to the gate, Pete was there as well as Tom who had arrived from his flight to Houston!

All was under control, we were assured. No one had announced our flight. Pete had been there for ten minutes and Tom for 15-20 minutes. After waiting for about ten minutes more, the lady sitting down the row from Pete asked if we were going to Bangor, and when we said we were, she said, "That flight's already gone."

Anyway, everyone can tell horror stories of traveling these days, and we won't cry on your shoulder. The upshot of it is, we spent the night in Detroit, courtesy of Northwest Airlines and arrived, rested and resigned, if a bit ragged around the edges, at 3:30 this afternoon.

The week was, and those of you who know me, know I rarely, if ever, use this term---"Awesome"!

I heard several people say it changed their lives. It is hard to put into words the emotions that were experienced and the depths of ourselves that we discovered.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who sponsored me and supported me with your thoughts and encouragement and prayers and financial backing. Thank you also to MAR for giving us all the impetus to do this work and to NAR for challenging us to do it. And I thank Habitat for being there and for helping me see what I could do when motivated and when I truly have a purpose.

Mary Kuykendall is 2008 president of the Bangor Board of REALTORS

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