My Pap used to say he’d climb just as high as you wanted him to go as long as he could keep one foot on the ground. I’m almost, but not quite the same way. I can do some height as long as I have something solid to get a grip on and I can do ladders as long as it is straight up and I don’t have to lean far out to either side.
I slipped off a roof one time. Lowest roof on Big House. There are eight different roof levels and I picked lowest to bust my butt. An extension ladder. I climbed up to roof edge level and leaned too far forward. Ladder feet kicked out and down I slid. Shook me up. Peed me off. That’s been nearly forty years ago. I’ve been a bunch more careful latter half of my life.
With care I managed to keep Big House’s gutters cleaned out. Bought plenty of ladder. In fact more ladder than I could handle easily. Takes experience and strength to handle tall ladders. I never used one for much except gutter cleaning and now in my seventies, my strength is disappearing fast. I think last year was my last year being contrary and insisting upon doing the job myself.
US Army had an obstacle course back when I was a young pup in training. All sorts of walls to go over, ditches to cross, mud holes to jump and barbed wire to crawl under. I managed most of it without too much trouble. Didn’t excel at it, didn’t look forward to proving myself on it, but I managed a passing grade. As it turned out in actual field soldiering, I never performed any of those feats, but simply slogged ahead at normal pace.
Scariest obstacle for me was the big deep ditch with logs laid across. Several running steps, rifle at port arms, then up onto a log and four or five strides across to solid ground, far side. Tough. Scared. First crossing I crept. Ridicule. Lots of yelling. Intimidation. Get up there and do it again. I did it. No idea how but I did it. Ran like the dickens in a straight line and made it. Another two steps over that pit and I’d have crashed. Made up points crawling under barbed wire. Wanted to crawl across that log.
Mr. C. Jett Cunningham, Superintendent of Reymann Memorial Farm, at Wardensville, put me to work one summer, when I was a teenager, painting farm building roofs. We started low on houses and red dairy barn and worked up. Near summer’s end he began mentioning shingle replacement on big barn and granary. I still had the old cheese factory’s roof yet to paint.
Big job. Took me rest of the summer. I stretched it out. Every time Foreman James Saville mentioned hay, I was first one on the wagon. I hand scooped poultry manure out windows onto spreaders. I volunteered for dirty jobs galore