Today I needed to get a very simple job done: cut and make square a small piece of ply so that I could have an ‘armchair-makeshift-table’ to work on in lieu of sitting at a desk.
While waiting on the craftsman I had a look around his shop. In one corner was a huge bass that seemed to be in need of repair, there were spindles, some old furniture (there for refurbishing I guessed) and on his work table – some new cupboards. Needless to say I started to feel a little stupid with my ‘ply-cutting-squaring’ project but I sucked it up and said “Look – this is what you came to get done and that’s exactly what you are going to ask for with your head held high- no shame!”
Benji (the craftsman) with a cigarette dangling from his mouth asked me what I wanted and then asked me what I was going to use the ply for. He cut what I needed, made it square and then took his time to trim and sandpaper the edges, taking care of any loose splinters.
It took all of five minutes but I wasn’t yet ready to leave. You see the place reminded me of my Dad who was an avid wood worker – very talented I might add, and I helped him a lot. I went on to learn how to turn, on a lathe and even made a couple of items in my lifetime – a stool and a TV stand – the total couple.
I love the smell of wood shavings, varnish and lacquer. I love taking a raw piece of wood and turning it into something useful. I shared these thoughts with Benji. Time stood still as we connected around our love for wood work. He asked me about my dad’s tools. I really can’t say I know what happened to the tools after Dad passed. Benji told me he learned his trade from his dad, but when his dad passed, his father’s wife (not his mom) sold the tools.
She may have sold the tools, but she couldn’t sell the talent he had and his ability to build a business doing what he loved, just as his father did!
And then I had this thought: Regardless of what we lose in life – our love for a craft, our appreciation for good work, and our talents to execute and produce remarkable experiences and things could NEVER be taken away from us!
I also realized that life is one big school and sometimes in the very simplest of circumstances, we can learn something. Thank you Daniel Benjamin!