The Callaghan family lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains in West Virginia. Five of them somehow managed in a two room ‘estate’, as they called it, since it had been in the family for years.
During a particularly heavy downpour, the old tar paper roof began leaking. Bigtime. The lawn chairs and TV trays that served as furniture was ruined. Worse than that, the gorgeous dirt floor that Mr. Callaghan had recently installed, and on which the children slept in their home-made sleeping bags, was now a giant mud puddle. Even Mr. & Mrs. Callaghan’s bedroom suite (consisting of three cots roped together) was waterlogged beyond repair.
“Clarence!” Mrs. Callaghan hollered.
“We need a new roof. What are you gonna do about it?” She stood over him with a menacing look on her face, her chubby hands on her ample hips.
Without looking up from his whittling Clarence replied, “Reckon I’ll put one on.”
“Well, I want a tin roof.”
He shrugged. “What fer?”
“‘Cause when it rains it’ll be romantic, ya idiot!”
Fortunately, Clarence was able to easily hide his grimace behind his full beard and mustache. The thought of romance and Judy in the same sentence was unsettling to him, at best. The mental image was downright frightening.
The following day Clarence and his eldest son Larry, drove the old pick-up into town in search of tin. On the way, they passed a farm with a huge pile of brand new tin sitting near the road.
“Hey, Daddy!” Larry squealed and pointed at the shiny pile. “Lookit!”
“Yup,” he replied. “But what’s that writin’ on the board next to it?”
“It says ‘free tin,'” Larry announced with pride. He was the best reader in the family.
“Sweet,” Clarence mumbled. “Grab it, boy.”
Later that same day…
The afternoon sun was brutal, but Clarence was hard at work putting a roof over his family’s big round heads. From the ground, Judy watched him like a hawk.
“Judy?” He panted.
“Yer sweatin’ like a three-legged racehorse. What the hell’s the matter with ya?”
“It’s hot, I reckon.”
“Well, stop it! Yer gonna rust the roof up b’fore we get a chance to get romantic!”
Clarence smiled and worked that much harder.