Friday, June 17, 2005

Pyramids of Cash!

Every spring, farmers skimmed their rolling acres of potato fields with mechanical "rock pickers" hauled behind their tractors. The growing season is short, the weather is notional, and dutiful farmers take great pains to keep their fields bringing maximum yields. Rocks took up growing space, devalued the soil, and were constantly being removed. Wherever there were potato fields, there were piles of rocks.

Remember, we were looking for ways to cut costs in construction. Those pyramids of stone resembled piles of cash to me. We would use them to put down the base for our parking lot and for the foundation of the new church.

I met with Don Kirstead, who owned all the farmland that surrounded us, and asked him if we could have his rock piles. He responded, "What on earth for?" When I explained our reasons for wanting them, he shook his head, smiled, and said, "Yes." He asked me to wait for the ground to dry out before we got on the dirt roads that criss-crossed his livelihood.

The next person we talked with was Eddie Michaud. Eddie lived less than a mile from our church; he and his sons were in the trucking business. We got in his pickup truck and went to survey the fields. While we were in the truck he never said a word except to ask me if I minded if he smoked. We returned to his driveway and negotiated a cost on the project. Eddie was Catholic, drove by our church everyday, and was very interested in the way we "Baptists" got things done.

Many church volunteers worked on this project. Out of respect, Eddie had his son remove the silver silhouettes of naked women off his truck's mudflaps.

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