Frank T Hogg

Sample Story #2

All Board and No Batten

My father wanted to build a shed at the camp the size of a two car garage. I don’t remember what the original purpose of it but it ended up storing firewood. He had five sons which meant he had five critics on jobs like this. Phrases like “Christ Pop this will never work,” were common. You had to be tough to be a Hogg in our family.

The construction was to take place all on one weekend. Pop drove us hard, we resisted … as usual. We started by laying down large flat rocks in the four corners. Frost heave was not considered. On the rocks we set tree trunks of the appropriate length, braced by boards. Once the sides were up we put smaller logs across them to form the roof. Rough sawn boards were placed on those logs and roll roofing applied. For the side walls my father had procured wide green rough sawn boards from a local sawmill. We put these up vertically and he would yell at us to make sure they were tight. Almost every board wasn’t tight enough for him. “Come on Frank push that tighter.” He would yell. “Turn it the other way it will fit better.” We pushed and tugged and struggled to make every joint as tight as we could. Finally at the end of the weekend we were done. Proud of our handiwork we went home to Scranton.

About a month later we came back to the camp for the weekend. When the new shed came into sight we boys started laughing so hard we were crying. All those green boards had shrunk at least an inch and the shed walls looked like a picket fence. My father, while embarrassed was undaunted and went back to the sawmill and bought enough 4 inch wide boards to cover the gaps. Now I know why they make board and batten siding. As we grew up we always made it a point to tell this story at family gatherings. My father was a good sport about it. With five sons pointing out his every faux pas, he had to be.