A totally indulgent blog entry

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Blog entry by NBeener posted 02-28-2010 11:39 PM 2152 reads 1 time favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I hope you’ll all forgive me … if not indulge me.

Life’s … been … pretty complicated for me … for a few years, really, but … lately … even more so.

Too many medical things for a guy in his 40’s. I muddle through, but … some days are just better than others.

I trust I don’t have to explain that to anybody ;-)

Been way behind in shop time, and didn’t feel quite “safely up to it,” today.

But … somebody else’s post got me thinking.

My dad was born in 1939. In 1957, his dad took his own life. Complicated story, I’m sure. I still don’t know how much of it I know and don’t know.

But it really knocked my dad out flat … a position from which—despite marrying young, and doing what he could to raise three boys—I’m convinced he never really recovered.

He was a woodworker, my dad, but his shop time was an escape. I never knew what went on down in the shop. He never included me. Never taught me. I was quite a foreign creature to him, really.

In October 1996, my dad got out of his 40 year funk … by way of a heart attack. I think he’s at peace, now.

His second wife didn’t consider that the boys might want to remember their dad … by his tools … his Rockwell TS … or anything else. Garage sale’d all of it … but a dinged-up old tool box, filled with a rusty back saw, a dozen files, and a try square.

I miss my dad … like many of you probably miss yours. Today, I took it upon myself to give some love to that old try square … to clean it up, confirm that it was still square, and then to make it a part of my woodworking going forward.

So … as the Dymo Label might indicate … this is the try square—probably 60 years old, now—of Charles Sidney Brooks.

[EDIT: Make that 70+ years old]

“Dad,” to me and my brothers.

I love ya’, pops. I always did. We might not have shared this passion, while you were around, but … may you help me build better stuff, going forward.

I’ll treasure this … and my memories of you.

That’s glue-up #2 for my second African Mahogany night stand, by the way, that the square is sitting on. I think it’s just beautiful. I think my dad would be proud.

“Such a long, long time to be gone
And a short time to be there.”

Cheers, everybody :-)

-- -- Neil

33 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3298 days

#1 posted 02-28-2010 11:53 PM

me and my dad were not close either neil…but i feel as you do…and the glue up is good…and i love the square..its a beauty…your dad has good taste in tools..just like his son… is to all dad’s…and here is to family…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3320 days

#2 posted 02-28-2010 11:57 PM

You made me cry.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 12:00 AM

neil ,
very heart felt tribute ,
he does live on through you .
and i am sure watching you do things ,
he liked to do thinking of him ,will bring joy to both of you .

i lost my dad at a young age ,
and barely knew him either ,
but in the middle of the night while walking and hitchhiking .
in a pitch black back road in north carolina ,
in the swamps ,
some thing spooked ( i thought alligators ) ,

‘our father who art in heaven ’ ,

came to me then ,
and has helped me ever since .

bless you memories , and your heath !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3427 days

#4 posted 03-01-2010 12:08 AM

May we all learn from your tribute to your dad.
We appreciate people only after they have left us.
Having that tri-square and being a woodworker yourself, makes it all the more meaningful.
It is interesting seeing that tri-square of your dad’s sitting on top of something you made… just saying!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 03-01-2010 12:11 AM

Well done, young man.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3522 days

#6 posted 03-01-2010 12:39 AM

”I hope you’ll all forgive me…if not indulge me.” Forgive you? Indulge you? On the contrary Neil, I thank you for your willingness to share such a personal message. I hope all your cuts are true and square!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3422 days

#7 posted 03-01-2010 12:52 AM

I could say allot right now about my dad, but I won’t. All I can tell you right now is that God loves you.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Lucy's profile


1 post in 3004 days

#8 posted 03-01-2010 12:58 AM

Oh, Neil, I must sign up to become a LumberJock to comment on your heartfelt post. Probably those of us who lost our fathers at a young age will feel this most. You certainly laid your feelings on the 2×4.
I’ve seen your woordork online and it’s beautiful. I lost my father when he was 51 and I was 15. I don’t remember him doing much woodworking except to keep things up around the farm and work his full time job. He took care of the livestock too. My mother ded when she was 57 and I was 25. She didn’t do woodworking either. She was a good farmwife though.

Losing family is very poignant to me at this time as I lost a sister and a brother since March 2009. My sister did not do woodworking either. lol. My brother and I were not really close, but I suspect he knew all about woodworking.

That brings me to now: My husband. Now, I know why I’ve had all these years of stepping around his tools, woodworking and other! He is constantly making “things.” It might be a nick-nack stand for each family member. It might be a large “wishing well” for the yard for each family member. I always get mad at him for “woodworking” even if I did not know what he was making. He has every tool (likely 5 or 6 of each) that was made since probably 1940’ish. He loves to scrounge barn sales for “old tools”. The older the better. So that I am now a “LumberJock married to a LumberMan, it would be good of me to pay more attention and give a little pat on the back for a job well done (whether I know what it is or not.) Thanks for the memories.

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 3263 days

#9 posted 03-01-2010 01:08 AM

Permit me to say, it is a joy to read your posts. You’ve added, not simply echoed.
Please continue.
While we may not have directly communicated, be assured we are looking, following closely.
(A note to all LJs: even though you may not get immediate feedback, many of us are enjoying and absorbing your posts. An LJ reply a year later is not unusual. When it comes to woodworking, LJs have elephantine memories.)

It is fundamentally important and key to development if both mother and father can be both healthy, loving, engaged in at least some sort of family.

I was in contact with my mom all the way, and supported her, until her death some years ago. She did good for what she had to do, for what she could do. She always made the best of anything presented to her.

To this date, I do not know who my father was. Evidently one of those guys who could not handle responsibility.


View cedarcanoeman's profile


46 posts in 3089 days

#10 posted 03-01-2010 01:15 AM

Neil Your story should make us all want to be the best fathers we can be. To teach our kids our hobbie even if it is a get away time for us. My dad is still around and i am in my late 30s, he let my brother and i mess around in the shop but didnt teach us much. That was probably his get away time also. My oldest boy is twelve and shop class at school is a joke. He asks alot of questions when i am in the shop working and i kind of mumble some answer. Your story drives me to do better and pay attention to my boys and teach them to be handy and work with wood. We have to be the ones to make a change because our current society sure isn t going to. Stay healthy man and make the life changes to do so. Thanks for the pics,and the story.

-- Lance, southwest Missouri,

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3015 days

#11 posted 03-01-2010 01:51 AM

This dad paid attention to your words.
Thanks Neil

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 3011 days

#12 posted 03-01-2010 01:57 AM

My pop’s tool chest is the first thing you see walking into my shop. He was a machinist and that chest has a lot of drawers.

-- dannymac

View sras's profile


4795 posts in 3124 days

#13 posted 03-01-2010 02:11 AM

A special treat to hear your story. That treasured square is surely going to be a joy to use. Thank you for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3071 days

#14 posted 03-01-2010 02:14 AM

Thank you for sharing… Honestly … Thank you.

My real dad left when I was very young. I become good friends with a fellow class mate in the third grade and we have been as close as brothers for the last 25 years. I spent a lot of time at his house growing up and his dad took me under his wing. He was the most incredible man I Have ever met in my life. I did a lot of work with him and always took his advice. The sad part is I never did much woodwork with him now that I look back at it.

Well as time grew on we would be out and about and he always introduced me and my best friend as “His Sons”. Before he passed away last year we had a long talk. I will never forget when he told me he could not have loved me any more if I where is own blood. That was the day I realized I had a Dad.

My Dad in his will left me all his woodworking tools. He always said I had that in me and I never really seen it. Now my time in the shop isn’t just woodwork to me. It is quality time with my dad.

Thank you again for sharing your tribute Neil… Thank you….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Walt's profile


30 posts in 3031 days

#15 posted 03-01-2010 02:54 AM

God Bless

-- Walt, Ohio

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