Did you hear about Max McGee the ex Packer footballer, 75 years old, his wife going to the store told him, "Now don't you go getting up the roof, you hear?" and came back to find him dead on the ground, he just had to rake the leaves off the roof. Hearing this news on the tube, I said to my wife, "Is that some kind of an omen, telling me I shouldn't go up on the roof tomorrow?" "Don't think that's going to get you out of going up on the roof," my wife chuckled. "He was an old fart. You're only . . . "Yes," I said. "And he was in Minnesota where the roofs are steep. Our roof is so shallow upon it you can sleep." So, up I went.

Dave Barton, Torchdown Man, when he climbed the ladder to the roof the first time and gazed upon the broad expanses, said, "If I knew the roof was this big I'm not sure I would have taken this job."

He didn't go up and look at the roof before he started. It's because he didn't trust my ladder with the ding in it from the time I was cutting a tree limb and the ladder slid off the limb down to the ground and I rode it to the bottom. Pounded the ladder as straight as I could, but it still looks kinda iffy.

David brought his own ladder. And an assistant, his son-in-law, Derek White. It's a big job. Four days into it and we're still not done. Took one day off because it rained like hell during the night so we let it dry out for a day. We're almost there. One more day should do it. We're resting today and again on Monday and will resume Operation Torchdown on Tuesday. Here's some stills.

Dave Barton, Torch Man

David rolls out the roofing with one hand and torches it to melt
the rubbery surface with his other hand. Slow going, and careful.

Torch sounds like a jet engine when it is on full blast. David wears thick welding gloves
but occasionally they get so hot he flings them off before his hands get burned.

Derek is laying down plywood over the old plastic and metal roofing covering the carport, prior to the torchdown.



This is the year I'm fixing my roof. I had enough of putting pots and buckets and pans and bowls in the house catching the leaks. My friend, David Barton, you remember him, the guy who cut the tree down that was leaning over the house? He was going to fix the roof. No more of this rolled roofing only lasts a few years. He said use Torchdown, a rubbery material comes in rolls you heat it with a propane torch melt the side that goes down on the roof it glues itself to the roof becomes a sealed membrane no water can penetrate lasts forty years just the ticket means I won't have to do another roof job not in my lifetime anyway.

Then the rains hit. The storms blew. The roof leaked. The sun beamed down. The roof dried. David showed up. I had the roofing materials in the yard covered with tarps and metal sheeting, ready to go. Today in warm sunshine we applied the Torchdown, perfect for football season, equal to a touchdown. All went well. Tomorrow we go again.