Monday, 28 July 2014

Fortune Cookies, Prophetic Script or Lucky Guess.

  A few weeks back on a night that it was my turn to cook dinner, I suggested Chinese.
My wife agreed.

Off we went to our local Chinese food restaurant. All you can eat. I am more of a kook than a cook.

  After we ate all we could, (ever notice you are hungry again after about an hour with Chinese food?) I paid for our meal and we each received our coveted fortune cookies.

  Shannon's was something along the lines of how lucky she is to have such a great and loving husband who dotes on her.................... well that's how I read it.

Mine on the other hand stated that I would soon receive a valuable inheritance.

     Oh goodness, my aunt must have taken a turn for the worse.
Any valuables here would be some of her wisdom handed down to me.

Why is inheritance immediately associated with a death. Probably because most often it is.
There are other ways to inherit things as we soon shall see.

  Come forward three weeks at our BBQ party. My cousin was present and told me my aunt is doing very well. In fact making great recovery since I saw her last in the spring time. Better than ever she told me.

  This is great news. But this still leaves a specter among us.

There were many old friends and new at the party and I was conversing with as many of them as possible during the afternoon. One of my childhood friends approached me, it was Richard Dunn. The weather was taking a turn for the worse and he had to leave as he was on his motorcycle and hoped to beat the rain on his way back home.

Winter of 1963 edition. Is this what started it all for George.

  Before  leaving he asked if I would be interested in coming by his parent's place and looking at some woodworking tools that his father, George, had accumulated over his lifetime. Maybe you could put them to use. "Most definitely," I said.

  "Do you have a dollar value on them", I asked.

  "Just make something for me", he said.
It was not all that unusual. I often barter for tools in this way and get the enjoyment of creating something just for them.

  During the week I made an appointment to meet with him on Saturday and we would go over the tools and he told me take what ever I could use. Man was I excited. I could add a few more tools and that would be helpful to my future plans.
 I have a large  24 x20 wood working shop which I will be expanding soon. So this would come at a most opportune time. You see I not only want to make furniture for people but I also want to offer one on one instruction or small workshops to help others discover how great it is to make something with your own hands. It is a lost practice these days. A shame because it makes you feel very human. It is very calming. It is very humbling.
  In order to facilitate such classes you need to have small sets of hand tools available so students need not share tools as they work on their projects. Everyone moves at a different speed and waiting just kills the flow and ruins the experience. I am not talking a room full of people here. I am thinking 1 to 3 students at a time for simple items and one on one for teaching higher skills.

  I believe I need to explain here that in November of last year I landed on disability due to Post Traumatic Stress. That is a problem explainable only in a blog of it's own. At some point I shall, but for now my hope is to find my way back through woodworking. "Mindfulness through Woodworking" as my shrink says. Sounds like a good book.

 Well Saturday showed promise of rain. I don't have a cover on the back of my pickup truck so I towed along my enclosed trailer just to keep dry the few items that I might pick up today. "Just make something",  usually implies that the bounty will be a small one. But I am happy to accept in any case.

Richard met me at the driveway and said just back her in. I told him the trailer was to keep things dry not that I was expecting to fill this thing. He said the trailer may be more important than you think.

Richard led me into the shop.

I could not believe my eyes. This should be on Ripley's Believe it or Not. They could call it 'George Dunn, a Lifetime of Tools'.

Canadian pickers could make a six part series on this room alone. I am serious.

   I felt like Carter entering Tut's tomb finding all that treasure. It was so amazing I didn't want to disturb it. There was a bit of a reverence to the whole thing.

I joked with Richard that he should send an email to Canadian Pickers and tell them he sold all this to a guy for five hundred bucks and ask them if I got a good deal?

Then Richard came up with, "how about I tell them I paid a guy fifty bucks to take it all out of here."

We were having a good laugh down there. But it was time to get down to business. I opened a drawer and angels sang as an unknown light shown on it's contents. It was tool nirvana.

While we had ascended to a higher level Richard and I spent about four hours taking down stuff from the walls, ceiling, out of drawers, behind cabinets, whole cabinets. Carrying out a few machines. Carrying out wood and loads of hand tools and clamps. Never have enough clamps.

We put so much in there I can't even remember what it all was but it was all very good.

 When we were finished loading his sister and mother asked my plans for all the tools and I told them my plans to use it for teaching others and making beautiful things. They were very pleased and said that George would like that very much. His collection would have new life and be appreciated by so many others.

 All of this might not have happened without a little help from another long time friend Brent Mullins. He had talked to Richard about me and my plans for getting through my self imposed hell.

 This generous offering has given such a boost to my plans. It would have taken at least five years buying tools every day to gather the number of useful tools he passed to me.

 The fortune cookie was right. A valuable inheritance. More valuable than a truckload of money.
An inheritance from George and his family. The chance to give others enjoyment using George's tools. His legacy to the woodworking community.

Famous people are often remembered for what they have done for themselves.

But I think much more important is what the average person leaves behind.

 George entrusted all his collection to Richard to have and do with what he will.
I am sure George would be extremely proud of Richard's choice to help another person with his inheritance. Besides I can still make what he needs and we all get to enjoy the fruits of George's labor.

 I pulled into the On Route near Port Hope to grab a coffee. I had to do something, I was so full of feelings I thought I might tear up. I stood outside enjoying the warm feeling thinking about childhood friends.

Childhood friends, from the sandbox playing with hot wheels cars. Running around the school yard at recess acting silly to impress the girls. Riding bicycles in the hills on weekends. Swimming in the lake in summer. Tobogganing in the winter. Exploring the construction dump by the Hydro station. First box of beers. Oops.

 I feel so good that even over all the years of our distant relationships, Richard and Brent still believe in me, still feel that I am a good person. Lending help at a most important time in my life. With friends like this I know I will succeed.

To friends. Lest we forget.

Thanks for reading