EPISODE 112 RAY CLOUGH…AN ECCENTRIC WHO DID OUR FARM ROOF.
Sept 6, 2020
Ray Clough…farmer and part time roofer. I hired him. A very interesting man.
This is not Ray’s house. Ray’s place had a good roof. But the front door was similar…very similar. Upstairs windows closed down because
no one ever went upstairs.
This was a good farm sale to talk about a roof. Not far from Ray’s farm. Might be where we met and stick up the
roof conversation. Take a look at the next picture.
An astounding picture. someone climbed up that ladder carrying those sheets of metal
I MET Ray at a farm sale much like the sale pictured here.
Not far from Ray’s place was another bachelor farmer. He needed to hire Ray but likely could not afford it.
How did he ever get those patches on the barn roof? Look at that long ladder. Dangerous way to live.
When I described the restoration of our farm house by Wayne Shannon, I did not
mention the roof.
Before the robbery…before the renovation I hired Ray Clough to put a steel roof over
the asphalt shingles. Ray was not a roofer. He was a farmer over near Ospringe.
A very unconventional chap. The kind of person I admire. His own man as they say.
Ray put a new roof on the farm all by himself. How he did it mystified me. Great long
sheets of ribbed steel. Green. How could Ray manhandle the sheets up to the roof
and then pound in lead headed roofing nails. He only had two hands. I never
saw anyone help him. Must have been helpers. Matter of fact I never saw him doing the roof. It was
done in the same week I hired him. While I taught school, Ray hammered the roof in place.
This is not Ray nor is it our farm house roof but the picture gives some idea of the danger involved.
After Ray finished the job, he asked if he could live in the house. That was a
surprise. A bigger surprise came one Halloween night when Marjorie was having
a bunch of her women friends in the house for a grand supper. Darkness. There was a nock
on the door. Jean or Cathy or Elizabeth opened the door and there was Ray. Just standing there. She screamed and
called Marjorie. Ray had one set of clothes and a Fedorah hat that had seen far
better days. He did not shave as often as some men do. He was single. Women
scared him … especially when they scream. The night was dark and Ray just
disappeared into the darkness. He expected to see me. “He said nothing, Alan,…
just faded into the night. I think we scared him.”
Then a day or so later…payment.
“Marjorie, you just stay in the car while I pay Ray for the roofing job.”
“Ray lives alone.?
“He may not be a fastidious as me.”
“You? That’s a laugh. I do all the cooking and cleaning. I even cut the grass.”
“Now I know you get my meaning.”
Ray invited me in via the woodshed doorway. The front door had not been used
for years. it was hard to even see the door as some great wild shrubs had taken over.
The woodshed was the closest way to the barn where Ray had his cattle. No need
for a front door. Ray was efficient. There was a foot trail to and from the barn. There
was also a foot trail in the kitchen. Ray’s path over the worn linoleum led to great greasy
stove…blackened with old grease. Then from stove to his big easy chair which
was worn and tufted here and there. The floor was black except for that trail from back door to stove to
the big easy chair.
As I mentioned Ray was not fastidious.
This is not Ray’s kitchen Same kind of stove. Ray’s was better than this
A year or so later, Ray died. Alone. On his farm. Marjorie and I went to his auction
sale. I do not know who dealt with his estate. Not much in terms of household goods. Not much that anyone would want.
Someone suggested a tour of the house. I think I dissuaded Marjorie from going.
In conclusion. I hope my story about Ray is seen the way I see it. This is not a put down. I really
liked him. Marvelled at our new roof. I wish I had taken the time to find out more about him. Cousin Helen Parkinson
and husband Bill lived on a farm near Ray as did Shirley (Awrey) Freeman and cousin Ted. So did Barb and Bob Root
(‘Rooter’) I am sure they knew Ray because their farms are close.
Perhaps they will make a comment.
Take a close look at Ray. His face. Not his clothes. That is a nice face. The creases are
warm creases. The eyes are amused eyes. Ray shaved every other day. His hat must be a farm heirloom.
The hat was not put in the auction sale. if it was there I would have bought it.
Ray believed in layered clothing. Count the layers.
Sept. 7 2020