Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whatcha' Doin' Mr. Herman

The first noise I heard this morning sounded like the tap-tap-tapping of hammers on nails you hear when one of your neighbors is having a new roof installed. But my initial thought was, I knew it! Someone’s building an ark!

Why wouldn’t that be my first thought?

It’s rained off and on for days. The ground is saturated and there’s still no sunshine. Oh, we’ve been teased with a few rays here and there, but they only stay long enough to get us excited and then disappear again. I’m bored with it!

When I said, “Is someone getting a new roof or building an ark?” Mr. H., accustomed to my inane sense of humor, said, “Neither. It’s those teenagers a few houses over playing their drums outside on their driveway.”

With no pressing reason to get up, I lay there listening to the beat - beat - beat - of the drums and drifted back in time. Mr. H. had owned a heating and air conditioning business. He stayed busy summer and winter. Most of his work came from home builders who contracted him to install heating and air conditioning units in the new homes they built. But he also did service work on existing homes and had many calls to replace old units as well.

He met a lot of people and had many stories to tell. One of my favorites was about a little boy, about four, who lived at a home where he was doing a replacement job. The first day on the job, Steven was curious about what was going on and stayed nearby to inspect the tools and equipment that were being brought into his house. His mother introduced him to my husband. “Steven, this is Mr. Horton. You need to stay out of his way so he can work."

The next morning, Steven greeted my husband at the door, “Hi, Mr. Herman,” he said. My husband laughed, unable to hide his amusement with the mispronunciation of his name, and said, “Good morning, Steven.”

Each morning, the little boy appeared soon after my husband arrived. He watched everything he did. My husband was afraid he’d get hurt and gently urged him to keep his distance. But Steven was too inquisitive.

“What’re you doin’ now, Mr. Herman?” he'd inquire. My husband had the patience of Job and tried to explain to this four-year-old exactly what he was doing, but then Steven would say, “Why are you doin’ that, Mr. Herman?” It was never-ending!

Although it seemed to take longer than usual, the job was eventually completed.

My husband had, of course, related Steven’s antics to me and our children every evening at dinner and, by the time the work was finished, the whole family was calling him Mr. Herman. Sometimes we still do.

Realizing I couldn’t lie there daydreaming all day, I sat up and lowered my feet to the floor. “I’ve been thinking about Steven and Mr. Herman,” I said. A smile that warmed my heart slowly crept over my husband’s face.

Isn’t it wonderful that one pleasant memory from long ago can bring sunshine back to a cloudy day and change our whole attitude?

And the entire day.


Anonymous said...

Adorable post, Peggy!

Paula said...

What a sweet story! That little guy really liked watching your husband at work. His name change was very cute to. Paula

sam said...

this is a nice post peg, just like all the rest you do. guess mr. herman was easier than mr. horton for the little boy. cute. sam

Jim said...

How nice of your husband to be so patient with the little boy. Most service men would tell a kid to get lost. Mr. Herman must be a good man! Jim

Anonymous said...

Yes, what would we do without memories?


Rene said...

Your husband must love children to put up with a child following him around asking question while he's working. Very cute post Peggy!

Paula said...

I wonder where the little boy's mother was. Why didn't she make him leave Mr. Herman alone? I like the story though. And your right. it only takes one thing to change your day from bad to good.... or the other way around.