Sunday With Roy Underhill: 2 Shows in 1 Day
So we shot two 25-minute episodes of “The Woodwright’s Shop” today. So you are probably wondering what the heck I did with the other 23 hours of my day.
Manicure? Pedicure? Facial? Crystal Meth bender?
I woke up this morning at 6 a.m. at Roy’s place , he lives in an old mill, and the guest bedroom sits right on the water. We slugged down some coffee. Roy sat in a rocking chair and quietly looked out over the dam next to his mill. I was poring over one of his books on Virginia shore furniture (I could spend a month here just browsing this man’s library).
Then we headed off to the UNC-TV PBS station, which is an awesome facility as far as PBS stations go. Then it was a few hours of getting our microphones attached (they bored holes through my pants), rehearsing and working out all the camera moves for the first episode.
We started actually shooting the first episode (on sawing) sometime before noon and we botched the beginning over and over and over again. After four or five false starts, Roy and I finally got loopy enough to make it through the episode. But I have to say that the 25 minutes of tape felt like a lifetime.
Then we shot a couple short promotional spots for that episode (when you see them please do not make fun of my sawing , it’s a long story). Then it was time for fried chicken.
Ask my co-workers , I usually eat an apple for lunch. But when someone dangles the promise of fried chicken and biscuits before my Southern-fried eyeballs, I cannot resist. And sweet tea. Dear me, I miss sweet tea.
The fried chicken, however, turned out to be a technical gastro-intestinal error.
The deliciously greasy fried chicken made Roy and me burp like an overheated Louisiana swamp. As we rehearsed the second episode after lunch, our belches and intestinal discomfort grew.
We burped our way through the second episode, which is about the toolkit of a typical 1839 joiner in England. It’s interesting stuff, if you can ignore the occasional eruction from us.
We finished up sometime about 6:30 p.m. (I think). Roy and I are both so tired from the whole day that we drive back to his mill in near silence, with just a few comments about ecology, old cars and our days ahead together.
When we arrived back at the mill, Roy’s wife, Jane, was out on the edge of the mill’s dam. She’s sweeping the duckweed over the edge and into the stream bed below. Roy and I perch ourselves on the edge of the dam and drink some Eagle Rare bourbon I’ve brought along. We watch Jane work, we breath slowly, and we let the humidity of the North Carolina night soak into our skin.
Jane has made an incredible meal of fried chicken, corn pudding, chicken gravy, broccoli and fresh bread. It’s ready for us. So we finish our bourbon in the proper manner (very slowly), stand up and head to the house for a beautiful meal.
Oh, in case you were wondering , yes, I have the best job in the world.
– Christopher Schwarz
All photos are courtesy of Mike Oniffrey