By 2010 the roof at Comfort Island was beginning to look like a ski slope complete with moguls and small jumps. Sky lights weren’t necessary as it was easy to see ample daylight through any of the rooms with open rafters or in bedrooms where plaster had fallen from the ceilings. The season was winding down and the house interior would not weather another harsh winter in upper New York State.
A funny aside occurred during the process of finding someone to do the job. At the beginning of October, I stopped my car on the shoulder of Route 12 near Alexandria Bay in order to question two Amish brothers riding along in their buggy about their willingness to tackle a roof project.
A lull of a ...view middle of the document...
We had waited too late in the season for the Zooks to do the job so we had a commercial roofer seal the roof instead. As 2011 began, we were still desperate for help with basic tidy-up projects. I tracked down Jonas and Daniel Zook at the end of June and convinced them that a second trip to Comfort Island would be even better than the first. I assured them that world-renowned skiff racer, Kira Clark, would ferry them to Comfort Island in style.
I paved the way with a visit to the tollbooth at the state park entrance. I questioned whether it would be okay for our workers to be admitted without charge and suggested that their sweet brown mare, “Martha,” would likely help with grass-cutting chores while her masters were at Comfort Island.
The park gate-tender wasn't too sure about the whole idea, but she eventually said, “We’ll let them in without the fee.”
Tools, toolboxes and five-gallon buckets of lunch all were carefully placed on the floorboards of the Bobby for the trip. Kira was equal to the task, and in less than ten minutes she had rowed them to the island.
We had expended considerable...