I had about a hundred working titles for this post:
All Roofers Must Be Meth Addicts
30 Steps and a Ladder
The Day I Discovered Skin De-fatting
2 Weeks in the Same Pants
But our week in Assonet, Mass began with the shedding of a church tower’s fenestration so The Defenestrations of Assonet seemed most appropriate. (Apologies in advance to any descendants of Praguian burgomasters who took the express elevator to the street in the early 15th-century).
It’s a beautiful New England church of its time, nestled in the tart bosom of cranberry country:
Inside, I half-expected Orson Welles to be delivering a sermon–
I mean, it’s a special place–
With original skyved clapboards on the north wall:
Pretty as it all was, the tower leaked badly.
It once held a bell tower which seemed to fall down like a barometer with each hurricane or nor’easter:
Several years ago, Michael and the crew took the tower off with a little less violence.
The church owns a splendid Revere Bell-
Which may yet one day peel above Assonet again-
Our task was to carefully remove the rails, posts and balusters on top of the flat roof. These had been added to the church in the hey-day of Greek Revival-ing, sometime in the 19th-century.
Here’s a post detail opened up, showing century-old plane shavings from its fitting:
Once the deck was clear, we’d build a new (temporary) deck on top of the existing rubber roof and pitch it towards the back of the church.
Away with ye, cursed water!
MLB finally had an excuse to rent a lift–
–while Keegan and I watched the trucks laden with cranberries roll by from our perch:
Supporting local business, we got our framing and decking material from Gurney’s Sawmill, of course. Though our deck is a temporary fix, it seemed right that materials should have come from just down the road.
Keegan used to lay rubber roof 20 years ago. He’s good at it–better than he thinks–but it’s not his vocation.
He searched his database late into the night (when he wasn’t changing diapers) to remember the particulars:
Let the rubber relax…where to caulk…how to manage drip edge…
Been there, ked.
I mean, worrying about rubber roofing, yes.
Roofers have always struck me as a breed apart.
It takes a special kind of person to do it for very long, I would think.
The fashion is inseamly–
And the sweet witches brew of chemicals:
But it’s a good cause and it will stay any further attrition of an historic building in a charming town.
And the view from on high in October is sublime…
So we lost our access key on the final day.
Where there’s a sill there’s a way.
What’s that old Irish saying about always leaving church the same way you came in?
Until next time, United Church of Assonet.
Here’s to blessed pets and dry bell towers.