Harlan / by Keith Wyman

Harlan was a funny man from what I could tell. But smart. Intellectual, and he did well for himself. Constantly avoiding boredom, always looking for something to do. Intuitive most of the time except when it came to inviting himself over to trim your hedges without your blessing or prior notice. He could surprise you like that. It could drive a person crazy, never knowing what he might be up to next. Leaf blower whistling well before 7 am and cocktail hours no later than 3 in the afternoon being commonplace.


He obsesses about concrete. Concrete collars around the trees in the front yard. Concrete landscape curbing along the entire front of the house leading you to the fence line, then backyard where the curbing continued encasing the house like a moat. Additional curbing as far as the eye can see along the property line imprisoning his countless shrubs, flowers and landscape rock. Yet more poured--custom pavers on the walkout in back leading to a poured staircase that runs alongside a terraced landscape which takes up half of the yard with you guessed it--concrete--retaining walls holding the house up. The scene wouldn't be complete without the 500 pound concrete deer standing guard over it all, peering back in at the house from the farthest recesses of the backyard. If there wasn't a reason to pour or make something with cement mix, then he seemed to need to make one. I found myself either making fun of him some days, and cursing him on others. There is so much of this stuff to tear out. 
Where do i begin?

 

But is this my life's work, to erase another man's life's work?

 

Tables 2 and 3 curing with 4, 5 and 6 to be poured Saturday. The Harlan line.

Some days I feel as if he's in the room with me. Guiding my hand. Looking over the mix and pour.

He's creepy like that. Truth is, I couldn't have done any of this without him.

 

Tomorrow is a big day. At least 5 pieces to form and prep for pour on Saturday. It has to happen Saturday. Anything later and I don't think they'll be ready in time for the ides of march. Would still need to rip forms, grind, polish, then seal. I've only done 3 in as many months up to this point. Never 10 in less than a week. Starting to get a little nervous...