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Building a fence can actually bring people together

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 4:51 p.m.

Before I started pecking out these words I stared at a blank computer screen for over an hour; stage IV writer's block. The problem wasn't a lack of April projects to discuss or which relevant issues face us do-it-yourselfers at this time of year. Instead, the problem was one of overabundance.

There is, after all, so much to think about right now; fix this, prune that, caulk here, mulch there. Thoughts about the lifespan of treated lumber and the bonding strength of Gorilla Glue raced through my head. My brain was blinking and ringing like a shaken pinball machine — “TILT!”

My mind went AWOL. I began to daydream about steak hoagies and sunset walks on the beach with my dog. Then I began to think about movies I really like. One flick which came to mind was “Fences.”

“Fences” is a film weak in action but rich in metaphor and dialogue, most of which is coarse and disturbing. Throughout the film a man named Troy, the lead character, and his son, Corey, labor together, building a fence. While there are plenty of transient characters and alternative scenery, Troy, Corey and the fence always reappear as the focal point of plot and picture — a long term project, a father and a son.

I thought about the film and looked at my blank computer screen. Poof, an idea came to me. I will write about fence building. Forget the dark and complex metaphors because in the real world fence building with your kids, parents, Uncle Mike or best friend is, in a word, fun.

In my life, I have completed hundreds and hundreds of projects. Some were tough and dirty, others artistic and light. But it's the ones I've done with friends and family which stand out as being my most enjoyable.

Whether splitting wood with my son or decorating a bedroom with my daughter, completing the work is the goal, but the time spent together is the reward. Same goes for projects with other family and close pals.

If you are like me, you will have no problem finding things to do this spring. In fact, your brain may be screaming “TILT!” Well take heart, I'm with you and I know the work is daunting.

But if I could make just one suggestion it would be to find a fence to build. Build a fence with a loved one. The memories of that time together will outlive treated lumber and the hours of labor will be an experience which just may bond things together tighter than Gorilla Glue.

But remember, time is of the essence. Spring is only so long, summer has its own load of busy-work and you may never have another opportunity to build that fence.

Ed Pfeifer is a freelance columnist for the Tribune-Review and owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.

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