Brothers Don, Gerry, and Rick Soucy are carpenters. They began to learn their trade from their father when they were ten years-old. They know nailers, saws, wood and metal. The know how to build houses and garages. They also know cold. They work together as a cold steady wind whips from the north down the CT River. The snow crunches underfoot. They work outside all day buttoning up Glastonbury’s boathouse so work can continue inside.
Gerry, 51, the youngest, works on the ground. He cuts the wood to size as Don, 56, and Rick, 55 work on a platform 20 feet off the ground measuring, fastening and taping the wood into place.
Don Soucy wears long johns, insulated quilted pants, undershirt, long sleeve tee shirt, fleece, three pairs of socks, jacket, scarf, heavy work boots, and fleece lined leather gloves. A cap goes under his hardhat. His brothers, with minor differences, wear the same.
Close at hand is Don’s hairdryer. Plugged in and pumping out warm air, he uses the dryer to warm his frozen hands. Every fifteen minutes or so Don will push the mouth of the dryer into his gloves to stem the cold in his finger tips.
He used to get some ribbing for the hair dryer. Not any more. Not after they tried it.
Sometimes its even too cold for the Soucy brothers to work outside. It just doesn’t pay. Too much time and energy is spent just keeping warm. Working outside in the single digits is not productive. Work slows to a crawl. On those days they stay home.
Don likens working out in the cold this way: When its in the single digits, drive to work sitting on a five pound bag of ice with the windows rolled down. He smiles at the image. That’s what it’s like to work outside in the cold.