By Joe Rector

My appreciation for craftsmen has grown lately. That’s because we’ve called on their services for several projects. Now, I’m not talking about those who paint or carve or sculpt. Instead, the craftsmen that have helped me are roofers, plumbers, and landscapers.

My wife reacts to my climbing a ladder to reach the roof the same way the woman on the gutter guard commercial. True, I’m not as steady on my feet as I once was, but that doesn’t mean I’m unable to climb or walk on slanted surfaces. However, to satisfy my spouse, I called on Daniel Hood Roofing again. Jimmy, the man who handles guttering, came to the houses and performed his miracles. In little time, he and his sidekick placed gutter covering around the house. I look forward to not ever having to clean out gutters or watch cascading water drown our deck when it rains. Years before, I took a stab at installing gutter guard, but the stuff was too cheap to stand up to all the leaves and sticks, and it collapsed in the middle. Jimmy guaranteed that his work would last. He tied ends together seamlessly. I appreciate his know-how in working with things so important to home protection.

Another craftsman I admire is the owner of Luke’s Plumbing. After 44 years, the faucets and pipes need some attention. Luke was right on time and quickly took care of the first problem. When we remodeled the kitchen, the plumber installed the faucet bracket upside down. He also failed to tighten the drain. Luke fixed the bracket so that the faucet didn’t move every time it was turned on. He installed stems into the faucets of one bathtub and one shower, Luke also put frost-proof faucets outside and raised one to make connecting a hose easier. He kept things clean and picked up spare and worn parts. He performed those jobs with such ease that I was amazed. I’d struggled to fix lines and faucets and drains over the years, and if I managed to get something in working order, the job was so sloppy that I feared things would fall apart as soon as I turned my back. That won’t be a problem with Luke taking care of us.

About 4 years ago, I put pavers in at the back of the pool concreted area. I dug and worked and laid about 100 of those things. The end result was an uneven surface that looked ragged at best. We decided to have professionals do the job right this time. The company was Leaf and Lawn. The owner, Kevin Cox, is a man I’ve known since he was little. He played first base on one of our baseball teams. Back then, Kevin was as big around as my little finger and wore a ball glove that looked as if it had swallowed his arm. He grew into a big kid who could play a great game of basketball. He was quiet, but his face always had a smile. Kevin’s parents taught him hard work and honesty, and he’s applied it to every aspect of his life.

His team worked on this small project of ours, and it turned out wonderful. The pavers are straight, level, and locked into place. Our pool area is even more beautiful thanks to the work of this man’s business. It’s difficult to realize that the little boy who played on our team and later sat in my English class is now a successful craftsman.

I appreciate the talents of folks like Jimmy, Luke, and Kevin. They take pride in their skills and honestly and fairly work for their customers. My daddy once told me that “everybody has a job at which they are good, and we should use them when the time comes.” Guys, thank you for the care you took in fixing our home and for your kindness and friendliness. You’re wonderful craftsmen whom I greatly admire and endorse.