New Hangar Roof – The great fortune of good friends.
Last weekend, a little army of tireless friends showed up at my place at sunrise on Friday, and set to work on a project that was a decade overdue: My hangar was skinned of it’s roof, extensive structural repairs were made, and it was completely re-roofed in modern R panels. It was a tremendous amount of work, spanning three days. I put it off for years because the commercial estimates were not affordable, and the work was beyond what an individual could do. At the end of this season, a few friends quietly said to get the materials, and we would all go after it in a single weekend.
We had really nice weather, and the work went better than I guessed it would. I actually had slightly more help than required. The mood was fun, but several times in the process went in the house, ostensibly to make more coffee, but really I didn’t want anyone to see that I was fighting off tears.
Through the decades of my adult life, I have suffered some very lonely times where I would have given anything to have just one of the friends I have today. For reasons that defy easy explanation, I kept many friends I should not have, and lost a handful of ones I really needed. Today in my fifties, I have a blossoming of great human beings in my life, but there are times where I still don’t believe I deserve them, and at those times it is overwhelming to be the recipient of their kindness and devotion.
I can rationally say I’m a good friend to people, and recognize that its a two way street, but emotionally, there is a part of me that can’t brush off all the times I was capable of ignoring the emotional plight of other people. I can be roofing with friends having a great time one minute, but if I pause to really take in the outpouring of friendship, I have a hard time not thinking about people like Mr. Carter, our emotionally scarred neighbor, a survivor of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. I drove past him many times when he was raking leaves without saying anything. Years later he told me that his one big hope each week had been that someone would simply stop and talk to him. Almost no one, including me, ever did. I’d like to apologize to him for it, but he is long gone now, and I’m left with just writing this story and going inside to ‘make coffee’ when I have to.
I don’t mean to have a somber tone, its really gratitude that I feel. If you have not met me in person, but think my stories and videos always seem to have a lot more people than engines in them, understand that I really find my work to be a story about people, not the machines. If you were to take a look and any week in 2019, you would be very surprised at the number of people who make a contribution, both large and obvious and small and critical, to making my life and work possible. Whenever someone has something nice to say to me, I never forget all the friends who actually make it not only possible, but fun and rewarding.
Above, the new roof and support structure. My hangar was one of the first structures at our airport, its almost 40 years old, the old roof was original. Kitti Politti and I welded the 24″ deep gray steel truss in the spring, it supports the doors. The hangar is now set for another few decades of supporting good seasons in flying. In the 14 years I have been here, a great number of parts, engines and builders have passed through this hangar. I’m looking forward to a whole new era in the rebuilt hangar.
14 Replies to “New Hangar Roof – The great fortune of good friends.”
For whatever reason, William, you deserve to have friends like that.
It is to your credit that you recognize the love that other people have for you, but I would remind you that it is not a one way street: You have given much of yourself to others, with no expectation of reciprocation which is the highest expression of love.
The “hangar party” that your friends threw is, in small measure, a return of what you have contributed to not only your friends’ lives, but to many people, including strangers. In a way, it could be called “karma”.
Sometimes, it is the loneliness that we experience at times in our lives that gives us appreciation for good friendships that come along later. Enjoy that appreciation. It is priceless, and you deserve it.
I wish I could have been part of the work party. It is moments like these that define a good life. I’m thankful to have you as a friend.
Good perspectives on thankfullness and gratitude William. Well said.
I would have helped, too.
Your a good man, Charlie Brown! 🙂 Over the years I have truly enjoyed reading your stories and prospective on life. I think you touch more people than you think! May you enjoy your new hangar!
HI William, I am very happy for you the hanger looks new. However I am a bit miffed that i was not invited to this party. Maybe next hanger? Just holla at me.
I appreciate that you are willing to make a 10 hour drive each way to crawl up on a roof. You are always welcome.
Anytime my friend
Great story, and a very nice looking new R-panel roof! That is what “community” is all about, plus you are always giving of yourself to others and the karma does come back around.
William; you are fortunate, indeed to have that many friends to surprise you. Everyone has regrets, as do I for the same reasons. All we can do is try to be better. I do & I know you do too. Keep up the good work.
just curious, I can see Phil’s plane in the background. What is the aircraft in the picture with a partial N number showing?
Had I known, I’d been happy to help. Your a good man William. Our weird friendship goes back many years, despite having had our differences you remain one of my most admired friends and I know of no one else that deserves some happiness in their life.
You are a friend and mentor to many William. So good to see you reap the benefits of following, and living, your calling and passion!