Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Feb 24-28, 2020

March 3, 2020

During the early 1900’s publishing sheet music was a big business.  That included sheet music of hymns and gospel music as well as popular music. The Hartford Music Company in Arkansas was one of the larger publishers of that time. Eugene Monroe Bartlett Sr. co-founded the company in 1918 and ran it for almost 20 years.  He wrote a lot of songs that ranged from ‘Victory in Jesus’, sung by almost everyone, to ‘Take an Old Cold Tater’, recorded by Little Jimmy Dickens.  He mentored song writers at the Hartford Music Institute, including Albert E. Brumley, who is arguably the greatest gospel songwriter of all time.  Bartlett was inducted posthumously into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1973.

In ‘Just a Little While to Stay Here’, Bartlett writes about how our lifespan on earth is only a brief stopover on our spiritual journey.

Just a little while to stay here            Just a little while to wait
Just a little while to labor                   In the path that’s always straight

The months on an MDS response can be long and arduous, or may seem to be “just a little while.”  The four weeks of February definitely fit in the latter category.  Despite delays, there was a lot of work accomplished at several houses.  This last week had the most moving pieces to coordinate each day.  With six crews out working on all six of our open job cards, the assignment board was “full to overflowing.”

It was also an easy week for me regarding names.  I only had to learn the names of 4 new people out of the 25 short term volunteers.  Most of the volunteers came from our home area of Northern Michigan, and it was great for me to welcome 21 volunteers who I knew had excellent skills.  I was also pleased during Sunday orientation to hear of the backgrounds of the 4 men from PA.  The combined skills would help accomplish the plans for the week. 

Our paths are not always straight, but they always lead us forward on our houses.  We were glad to see the delivery of cabinets for three houses on Wednesday. This delivery is a major milestone at the start of the “home stretch” for those houses.  While awaiting inspections on our final two new builds, we got insulation bundles into the house, so we will be ready as soon as we get the word. Our use of the same interior trim paint on all of our houses has challenged the supply/inventory chain of Lowes, but by Thursday afternoon, we had the gallons needed to continue.  So, the path was not as linear as hoped, but progress was achieved.

Chrystal and Harold’s house saw kitchen cabinets, interior doors, window trim, light fixtures and much more being installed and approaching completion.  The grey walls, white doors and trim, weathered wood look flooring, white cabinets with grey counter tops, brushed nickel light fixtures give this “mature” home a very fresh, new look.  It is always a joy to see the faces of the clients when they enter the houses after a new group of items has been installed. Chrystal did not disappoint the crew.

After the heavy rains of the past week and this Monday night, the “lake” in front of the house for Ms. April and Mr. Charles’ family almost became a moat.  A bridge was laid down on highest ground using old planks, and work continued.  Flooring and window trim were the main events for the first half of the week, while cabinets and interior doors filled the final two days. The planned date for dedication was set, which has helped the clients see an end to the five of them living in a tiny travel trailer.

At Ms. Patricia’s, the word for last week was mud.  The week started with final sanding and the “light of truth” inspection.  It ended with the interior all painted and ready for flooring.  Once paint and interior door orders were sorted out, a first coat of satin white was applied, so they will be ready once the flooring is completed next week.

Ms. Vivian was in her usual lawn chair outside their loaned RV and watched the activities for the week.  All of the major tasks were on the outside of the house, so she saw big changes.  Siding installation was completed.  The metal roof was placed and fastened down on Thursday.  Crew leader Bob utilized the professional painter on his crew to caulk the siding and trim, and get the final paint about 75 per cent complete.  Grey siding, white trim, and the silver roof look very good together. Interior work was almost nonexistent this week, as we wait for the Rough-In inspection that was requested for Tuesday.  We did get wood backing for grab bars in the bathroom to provide Mr. Tony with a safe shower experience.

Our “hugger” client, Ms. Theresa, did not fail to greet the crew at the start of the week and celebrate each step toward completion.  She also witnessed the exterior siding installation completed and saw the metal roof installed in the bright sunshine of Thursday.  Rough-In by the subs is almost done, which brings the progress on these last two houses about even.

Soon this life will all be over,             And our pilgrimage will end
Soon we’ll take our heavenly journey, To be at home with friends again

The time for our February Long Term staff ended this week.  Will, Evie, Bob, Dick, Joanna, Sharon, Mike, Edith, Leroy and Doreen are all headed home to be with friends and family again.  Each one provided a unique blend of skills and experience that helped our pilgrimage in Marianna achieve really good things these past four weeks.

As we welcome incoming March long term staff, we look forward to the new month and anticipate the day when three client families will be able to move into their new, or newly refurbished, homes. 

Heaven’s gates are standing open,     Waiting for our entrance there
Some sweet day we’re going over, And all the beauties there to share.

From Marianna, Florida; Jackson and Calhoun Counties, 
Carl