Ray’s Big Deck

October 17, 2021

Reflections, Day 9

“Permanence was a illusion, and nothin really mattered but now.”
― Raymond L. Atkins, The Front Porch Prophet

“Hubris is when God screws you over for being a smartass.”
― Raymond L. Atkins, The Front Porch Prophet

A lot of us had “Covid projects” last year. I obsessed over the yard, my brother Tom produced 200,000 paintings, and our friend, Ray Atkins—well, he built a deck. It was not just any deck, either, mind you—it was a magnificent deck, carefully crafted and in an almost impossible location at the bottom of a steep river bank. I had seen pictures of the project as it developed and I’ve been wanting to see it in person.

That chance came last night. We had been invited to a reception held by Marsha and Ray Atkins for Wendy Davis who is running for our district’s congressional seat. Dekie wanted to socialize. I wanted to see that deck. I was expecting something good, but I was amazed by the craftsmanship and the scope of the job. I looked in awe at the difficulty of building such an edifice on that site. When asked about the unique design with angles and curves, Ray responded, “That’s where the big rocks are.”

Ray is an almost-famous author and also a fearsome English professor. He is a humorist with a wit so dry that it sometimes hides itself. And now, I guess he can call himself an artistic carpenter.

The reception was also a success. The food was excellent, and the guests were all good looking, intelligent and interesting.

—john schulz

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