I’m feeling very thankful and grateful today.
I just found out that a friend of mine, Bob, the guy who helped me turn my osage orange mallet, had a series of small strokes recently. His sight and mental capacity has been severely affected to the point where he can no longer drive or operate any kind of machinery. He says it is like there is a big black hole in his head. He has a thought and before it gets to his mouth to say what he wanted to say or to his hands to move the way he wants them to move, it disappears. He knows who people are and can tell you 500 things about that person, but has no idea what their name is, things like that…
He can no longer work, which is bad enough, but it also means he has to give up one of his big joys in life, which is woodworking.
It’s hard to try an imagine what he and his family is going through. Actually, I don’t think I can. Today my family was all together for my dad’s birthday dinner (lunch? We have a weird thing in our family that the meals are breakfast/lunch/dinner during the week, but on weekends we call them breakfast/dinner/supper – does anyone else do that? I think it is something my grandmother on my father’s side did…). It was nice to sit around the collective group of parents, the three sons, and their wives and children (and one on the way w/my younger brother’s wife) and hear the laughter and the stories and share the companionship and love of a family. I paused during the meal to try and imagine life without that, and I couldn’t. Or at least, it wasn’t one nearly as fulfilling as the one I have now.
My little brother is a really close friend of Bob’s son, Nathaniel, and is one of Bob’s surogate son’s they’ve “adopted” over the years. Tomorrow he is going to go over to Bob’s shop and try to take an inventory of his woodworking tools and equipment and come up with some sale prices. They need to sell it all off to make some extra money because they don’t have the best insurance.
He isn’t really the best when it comes to details and writing and probably not that great at evaluating the sale cost of most of these things. He has a lot of practical knowledge, when it comes to woodworking, but he does lack some in booksmarts. So I offered to meet him down there and help him inventory and price everything out. I could easily write up a rough copy and write it all up with descriptions and then get on-line and come up with some appropriate pricing for most of it.
And they said I could also buy whatever I needed before the list goes out to the general public.
I guess I’m somewhat torn on my feelings for this. On the one hand, it is a horrible thing to have to sell off your tools and it is something I can’t imagine doing. Since I’ve gotten into woodworking, I’ve been to four different shops where the guy is selling everything off because he’s retiring, and you can see it in their eyes – it’s like you’re tearing apart their soul, piece by piece.
On the other hand, I know it is something that has to happen. And I know neither of his sons has ever had an interest in woodworking, which always made him sad. He has hand tools that were passed down to him from his dad and his grandfather and his children don’t have the slightest interest in picking them up and putting them to wood. So a part of me feels like I owe it to him to pick up some of these tools and recondition the ones that need it and try to carry on his legacy as best I can.
And then that first part of me says I’m trying to justify it to myself, nothing more.
I guess I can balance it out by making sure I give him more than the going market value for them. That way I’ll know I’m not trying to take advantage of him – and I know they’ll get the extra money they so desperately need right now.
Bother… I hate mental dilemas like these. Just needed to get it off my chest, I guess. Sorry if I brought anyone down, but thanks for being my sounding board.
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com