Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fence

Many years ago, the Panagakos family lived here and maintained Trinita. The only program we MSBT did here was the Summer program. We had not yet begun to invest much in keeping the place up, so Bill was always only one step ahead of all kinds of imminent disaster. The volunteers were often drafted into spontaneous work crews.

When my brother Matthew served here in 1987, the imminent disaster was the pool fence. It was sagging and rotten in places and a real safety hazard. Thus the Fencing Team was born. A number of MCVs spent hours digging post holes and replacing the fence. My brother had learned how to put in a fence from my father, a Missouri farm boy. However, the work crew was not well disciplined. In fact, someone on the team with no prior experience began giving conflicting directions to the others. 

The Fencing Team got cool black t-shirts with a special design,and the new fence held up well enough to keep the kids out, but you could tell by looking at it that it had "issues."

When I arrived here, I wondered if the current pool fence was still the one my brother helped erect so long ago, because it sure looked that old. While advocating the need to replace it to a visiting sister, I reached over and snapped the top off one of the planks to show how rotten it was. We finally got a new fence. Men and teens from our two neighboring parishes came to help Vinnie put it in last year, and it looks great. But the bare wood needed to be stained.

Last weekend, Carolyn from Oswego and Benito and his son Nick from Hartford came to help stain the new pool fence. We had a great time Friday night. A night hike! A campfire and s'mores! And some of that firewood was from the old pool fence. Seriously. We've been burning it a little at a time for fire wood since last year. I think about the pool and the kids and the summer sun while I watch those old fence posts burn.

Sr. Susanne and I, Carolyn, Benito, and Nick became the new Fencing Team. We stained the whole thing in four hours. It was funny how we fumbled around and talked a lot at first, but soon, we fell into a rhythm and just knew what to do without much need for talking. We worked together, each in his or her own special style. A fence is something to divide, it is a barrier. But like everything else around here, a Trinita fence doesn't divide, it brings people together.