I was nine when
our next door neighbors
gave us a rotted out playhouse from their backyard.
To move it into our yard, Dad removed a section of the fence and,
he and our neighbor rolled the playhouse
on a series of metal pipes,
rotating each from back to front all the way across the lawn,
until the playhouse arrived on the far side of our house.
They restored the section of fence.
Dad began to renovate,
installing a new composite roof, fresh drywall, new carpet
and cloth curtains over the unfinished windows.
I wanted to help in some way. It was my house, afterall.
So Dad showed me how to spackle drywall mud over the nail heads.
He watched impatiently for a moment before taking the knife away.
“You shouldn’t learn how to do this. I don’t ever want you to make a living this way.”
I dawdled around the playhouse for a minute until I lost interest and wandered off.
I had always been the smallest kid in my class, a source of great insecurity,
so it was doubtful that I had a future in hard labor construction.
Certainly drywall mud did not alter my destiny one way or the other.
Jody Rae’s creative nonfiction essays appear in The Avalon Literary Review, The Good Life Review, and From Whispers to Roars. Her short story, “Beautiful Mother” was a finalist in the Phoebe Journal 2021 Spring Fiction Contest. She was the first prize winner of the 2019 Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest for her poem, “Failure to Triangulate”. Her work can be found at www.criminysakesalive.com.