At a recent builders and construction product convention, contractors were asked the number one business problem they faced. Seventy-percent said, “Lack of roughers and carpenters.” Skilled workers are hard to find. A “rougher” roughs in a house—frames it.

A man, whose home was manufactured in New Hampshire, then put on pallets and shipped on semis from New Hampshire to the Indiana home site was told by the homebuilder, “The wood we use in the pallets is better than most builders use in their homes. You’ll want to salvage as much of it as you can. Don’t let the framers burn it up.”

We went to a funeral over the weekend. The deceased was one of my oldest friends. I saw other friends I haven’t seen for decades and people who were part of our family 35-40 years ago. We drove through the city of my birth and nearly got lost in neighborhoods that once were my “stompin grounds.”


I searched people’s faces for a clue—a glimpse in their eyes or a mannerism that would indicate I once knew them. And answered the question, “Did you used to be Dean Benton?”

This is the second time in four months that I’ve made this trip into my past lives. Frankly, it has left me trying to sort through thoughts and feelings I can’t totally name or identify.

I heard so many stories! Had I heard them when they were fresh, I would have done something. Of course, some of them were none of my business, but some could have been. Question is, would my involvement made it better or worse? But, I grieve over the pain those people endured. Much of my vision and mission is to bring healing and new purpose to those whose scars are still red.

Thus far in my processing: the need for roughers and skilled carpenters. A “rougher” frames the building. Their responsibility is not finishing touches or staging. They make sure things are square, straight and will withstand time and usage. They also make sure the finish work will have a solid foundation.
Driving around my home city, landmarks screamed memories at me. Places I didn’t fit. Places I wanted to fit, but couldn’t. Having more roughers might have helped—skilled people who could square things or put a level on weight bearing walls.

A crowd is an opportunity for me to gawk at people. One of the sights was a three-generation family. They were touching each other—arms hooked together and especially the dad’s hand planted protectively and oozing affection—“you are mine and I’m glad” kind of grip.

My latest ebook Depot will be launched within the next two weeks. It is a novel about heritage, destiny and legacy—acts of roughing. The editor says it is a “good book” and added, “good stuff!” Among the important scenes is when Gil and Amanda Adams furnish a house.

We are slightly addicted to HGTV where we watch walls torn down and houses found to be needing repair are renovated. We have a friend who “stages” houses. She wants to do it full time. She knows what to do to “present” a house. Curb appeal from the front door. Thank God there are people in our lives who add to, repair and upgrade.

Needed: Roughers, carpenters, stagers.

©2016 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer

Twitter: @DeanBenton

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