by Lillian Cauldwell
Page 1 of 5
It happens every Spring, this ritual with the ants. They invade houses in
their quest for water. Leaking water pipes always seems to entice them and this
year was no exception, except for the way it was handled. I had my handyman,
Joseph Single to thank. He'd been a drifter and needed a place to stay. We'd
agreed and several years back in exchange for a room over the garage, Joseph
would help out around the house.
Joseph knew we needed some repairs done to our structural beams. The
termites had eaten the beams to a cost of $3,000. Joseph told us that he had
done some carpentry in his life and said he would be glad to help repair the
damaged beams. First, he would drill holes into the beams and dust with termite
powder before restoring them. His Da had trained him and he was now board
certified. My wife and I were delighted. We knew Joseph, trusted him and
Caldwell-2-Joys of Spring
that our premises were safe in his capable hands. He was a sparse man who
kept to himself and worked diligently at whatever he set his mind to.
On the first day of the job, Joseph surprised me. He came muttering into the
house and talked about ants invading in search of water. I didn't particularly
pay any attention to his muttering because Joseph was always muttering under
his breath or talking to imaginary characters. You got used to these
conversations because Joseph always spoke both parts himself.
That morning, I saw Joseph walk into the house and heard him speak to one of
his imaginary ants. Apparently, this ant admitted that it was leading a
vanguard line of workers whose job it was to find possible water sites. Joseph
cupped his mouth as if he was protecting what he was saying to the ant.
"The Jennings' have some damaged wooden beams. This includes their main
support beams. They were chewed by termites and they want me to replace
Of course, the entire conversation was one sided as far as I was concerned,
but not to Joseph. He answered as if he was talking to an ant.
"Yeah. They want me to fix it pronto. If I don't do something now, the whole
house will fall down. I don't want that to happen. Lose my job I will," as he
inclined his head further down. I noticed that his eyes were focusing on the
carpet as if inspecting something with great solemnity.
"I'll let you and your workers get their fill of water from the pipes before
I finish my
Caldwell-3-Joys of Spring
beam work. That will give you enough time so your Queen can stock up. It's
the best that I can do."
Joseph hurriedly finished the conversation and straightened up. He turned
furtively around as if looking for intruders. Fortunately, I had stepped behind
the door so as not to give my presence away. Joseph saw nobody and left.
Several minutes later, he came round to my study and asked me if he could buy
some lumber to replace the damaged beams. I said yes and called up Woody Lumber
to arrange payment for it. As I got off the phone, I noticed that Joseph had
already left for the store. I went back to cleaning my office. During the year,
it always got cluttered with papers, maps and books. And like the ants who were
constantly drawn to water, I'm always trying to keep my office neater.Next Page
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 Lillian Cauldwell, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author. The author has submitted the work in accordance with and in agreement with the following Submission Guidelines.