One Thing Leads to Another
Mr. Nonspeaker began to appear out front on a daily basis, working to repair it. Joe had gone away for a week or so to visit North Dakota with Sherry and her family, leaving me as a single parent to Blackberry. I didn't give the dog the quality of walks that Joe did; I endeavored to make up for that by quantity of walks. This inevitably placed me out front during Mr. N's labor hours, and it turned out that he could talk. A bit. (We still aren't sure about his wife.) Anyway, he said that he had not planned to do the repair himself. The first people he spoke with wanted $5,000 to haul away all the stone. I don't know what their subsequent plan was. Then he spoke with a mason who quoted him $10,000 to do the rebuild. That seemed a lot, so he spoke with a second mason whose price was $20,000. Rather than continue with that approach, he ordered a load of stone and got to work. It took him from August until March.
When Joe returned from North Dakota, he spent a few afternoons helping Mr. N, and began referring to him as "John." (We've only lived across from these people for 20 years and had no idea what their names were.) I'm not sure what happened to Joe as a result of this situation. But he was deep in thought for quite a while afterwards.