Beth Hear a Voice from on High

Beth Hears a Voice From on High


When we moved to Raleigh, Geri and I purchased a home on the Northwestern outskirts of the city. It was a large, two story, farm style home in a small addition called Fernwood. There were only 13 houses in all in the addition and none were similar to any other. It was a very eclectic blend on homes on a street that ended in a cul-de-sac. It was all downhill from the main road and our house was in the middle of the cul-de-sac and sat lowest of all in the neighborhood and the house sat at the end of a 225 foot driveway and only had an 11 foot frontage. It was kind of pie shaped at the front with a rectangular lot on which the house sat at the back.

To the left as you sat on the front porch, there was a home that was in front of ours, but since it sat on 2 acres and since there were hundreds of oaks and pines, it could not really be seen clearly from our house, in fact, all of the houses were obscured from out view.

The occupants of the home were a nurse who had been recently divorced and was exploring becoming a cruise ship nurse and her daughter, Beth, who was attending the University of North Carolina. About two years after we moved in, Phyllis (the mom) took a job with Norwegian Cruise Lines as cruise nurse and so the house was often empty except on weekends or the summer when Beth came home and the occasional furloughs that Phyllis had. I kept the front mowed and we kept an eye on the house.One early summer day, I decided that my gutters needed to be cleaned out. The pines and oaks on the property were very tall and the gutters would fill quickly and usually needed to be cleaned twice a year. I had {still have it in fact, though it hasn't been used much in last 15 years} a section of a firetruck extension ladder that is 16 feet long. The problem with it was that from the deck in the back (which was 5 feet off the ground) to the roof was about 17 feet. Being inventive or stupid or both, I had a two by four cleat that I could nail to the top of our picnic table (which sat on the deck of course). Placing the ladder on the table and bracing the ladder against the cleat, the ladder's top was now 20 feet from the deck, more than enough to use to get on the roof! I also had to brace the picnic table against the back railing of the deck so it wouldn't slide off or tip.

I need to interject here, that the roof in summer or early fall would be too hot to sit on with out risking 2nd degree burns, so I would carry the hose up the ladder to cool the roof and as a bonus, use it to clear the debris from the gutter more easily that by hand.

The scene is set, I nail the cleat, put up the ladder, turn on the hose and prepare to go up. Geri came to the back door to let me know that she would be leaving soon with the kids to go to K-Mart {a place our car could not pass, ever!}. Soon after I got on the roof and began cooling it, I heard them pulling out the driveway and I watched them go from the peak of the roof. I also heard Beth and her boyfriend in their backyard. I went to work on the gutters, starting on one end, cooling the roof under me and squirting out the debris. I made my second shift of position and pulled the hose toward me, when to my horror, I saw that it was looped around the top of the ladder and I pulled the ladder as well. Down it went, now I am stranded on the roof. I remembered that Beth was home, but as luck would have it, they had gone inside the house. For the next 20 minutes, I first completed cleaning the gutters and then waited for someone to come to my rescue. Then I once again I heard them in the back yard. 

"Beth" I called, no response. I called again and then a third time. Finally, I see Beth's boyfriend shading his eyes and looking skyward. I called again, "Beth's friend!" and he located me. He quickly righted the ladder and I finally descended. Beth said when I got down, "I was sure that I was being called by the Man on high until I recognized your voice". We had a pretty good laugh.

Needless to say, after that, I always made sure the hose was not on the ladder and that there was someone home when I went on the roof.   

Davdan @ 2008-2018