I decided the other day that I would try to find out where I could put my hands on a good sized load of gopher wood — just in case, you know. I mean, it hasn’t rained for 40 days and 40 nights, yet, but we haven’t been more than 40 hours without a good hard rain since the woods burned over. I just wanted to be safe. Besides, I heard that Diane Howington is collecting two of every animal in the neighborhood, which isn’t all that unusual for Diane, but still ...
Guess what I found out? Nobody I talked to even knew what gopher wood is, much less where I can put my hands on some. It seems that something has been lost in translation between Noah and the recent daily downpours caused, I am certain, by George W. Bush because he is to blame for everything that has happened in this country this century.
There is no definitive answer for what gopher wood is or isn’t, but that doesn’t keep so-called biblical scholars from stating, unequivocally, their individual opinions. One source I happened across stated that gopher wood was “any squared or planed” lumber. Hmmm. That may or may not make sense to me. I visited the U.S.S. Constitution recently and it is made of good old coastal Georgia Live Oak, taken from St. Simons and Jekyll Islands right here in the Peach State.
Of course it wasn’t the Peach State at the time. It was probably the pitch pine state because naval stores — tar and resin and turpentine and such — was one of our greatest exports. Speaking of which, one school of thought is that “gopher” might have actually been mistaken for the Hebrew word “kopher,” with a “k,” which translates into “pitch.” This suggests that gopher wood is really any pitched wood, which would be watertight, a feature that comes in pretty handy if a fellow is about to build a boat big enough to hold two of every animal in the world.
Other suggestions for gopher wood include pine, cedar, fir, ebony, wicker, juniper, acacia, boxwood, slimed bulrushes and resinous wood. I finally decided that any kind of lumber I can get my hands on would do if the time comes for me to attempt to build an ark.
My next investigation centered around my efforts to determine the exact measurement of a cubit. I determined that a cubit was about 17.5 inches long. Don’t ask me how that equates to the metric system. Joseph Croom wasn’t wrong about much but when he told us back in high school that we would all be buying gasoline by the liter and measuring football fields by meters before we graduated from college, he was a little bit off base. It’s not his fault, though. Who could have guessed that Jimmy Carter would become president of the United States within the decade? That screwed up a lot of stuff.
At any rate, I didn’t need the Internet to determine that Noah’s ark was 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall. That would make it a B.A.B. big (anatomy word) boat, of about 450 yards long, 22 meters wide, (like how I threw that in there, just for Croom?) and three stories high.
Sounds like a lot of work to me. I decided to take my chances and pray that the rain will stop — one day. If anyone sees Sonny Purdue, you can tell him to stop praying for rain and if anyone sees Gil Watson, please let him know that I need my umbrella back.
Actually, God promised not to destroy the world by water again. He didn’t say anything about my basement, though, and I may be the first person from Porterdale to boast his own indoor pool, right in his own basement. If we could figure a way to market mildew, I would be able to corner the market by Monday.
Yes, y’all. We have had a wet summer and the past few days have been as wet as any week I can remember since the big storm a while back that washed away everything south and west of the Flint River. And, yes, my basement leaks — floods is more like it — when the water table gets wet and heavy rains fall. We have been vacuuming more than our share of water the past month or so.
But not to fear! I called Dave the Great and Powerful Baker from the WSB radio home fix-it show — Dave has a great face for radio, by the way — and he recommended a company that claims they will get — and keep — my basement dry before toe meets leather this fall. Dave Baker’s word is good enough for me and as soon as my turn comes around, we are going to be dry as a bone and mildew-free.
The only problem is that my turn isn’t for a few weeks. I am a little concerned. So much so that I asked my lovely wife, Lisa, this morning, “Darling, how long can you tread water?”
Stay high and dry, y’all and if you can’t stay dry, at least … well, never mind.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/darrellhuckaby.