All Replies on so when is the party over?

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so when is the party over?

by cathyb
posted 10-21-2012 06:01 AM

32 replies so far

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4044 days

#1 posted 10-21-2012 06:20 AM

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I too have lost longtime friends and a recently acquired one as well!
I think it is just as important to know when to “finish up” as it is to keep dreaming as long as we can.
It seems you have learned some precious memories as well as life lessons, kudos!
May you have many more!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 10-21-2012 06:48 AM

Sorry to hear that. I lost 3 older friends this last summer. Your question reminds me of the Bily Museum in Spillville, Iowa. The bachelor Bily brothers were farmers who carved the most magnificent mechanical clocks during the long Iowa winters. It is too bad they do not allow any pictures of them out into the world. ;-( Henry Ford offered them a million dollars for their Clock of Industry. They turned him down. They wanted to keep their work all together as a collection and left it to the town or a trust or something. Anyway, the thing I will never forget about the display was the last clock they never finished. It looked like amateurs tried to carve it. It was sort of an attitude altering experience. I’m not sure if it is better to go out on top or keep on doing what you love to do.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Boxguy's profile


2617 posts in 2234 days

#3 posted 10-21-2012 07:42 AM

Cathy, interesting topic. Death does leave larger holes than we planned in the fabric of our lives. There will be those moments when you say, “I wish I could talk to Walter about this.” And, times you wish you could show him your work…because you know Walter would understand. I miss my dad that way.

At a certain time in life we start to count down instead of up. Sounds like you have found that tipping point too. I think it was the philosopher Martin Heidegger who pointed out to me that our being, our essence is tied to a dying creature…our body. Youth doesn’t know this…I have watched them drive cars. But, we know this. Perhaps even a blooming rose knows this.

All that said, life is for the living. And to live is to strive. What would Walter have been without a project even when he was weak and blind? Better to leave something undone than to finish everything and sit waiting for death. I feel the urgency of creating while I still can, but it is also a time for me to take younger people into my shop and teach them something about woodworking and the joy of making beauty from wood with your own hands. That is one way to cheat death…as is what we craft and leave behind. I have learned that Grandchildren are a blessing too.

Just climbing staircases and lifting and picking change off the floor are enough to remind me of the ravages of time. But every day of health and energy is a blessing to be cherished…and I do…and so do you. I try to use my awareness of time as a way to make the most of what I still have…of loving that which I won’t have for long and so I love it the more. And so, up the stairs I go…but slower.

Who would have guessed that Lumber Jocks would be a place to express such ideas and use some recent photos that are really not LJ material? Thanks for the opportunity. Looking forward to your next project.

-- Big Al in IN

View kwhit190211's profile


44 posts in 3722 days

#4 posted 10-21-2012 08:19 AM

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Cathy. That’s not a bad idea that you have. But, it would never work on me. My old lady keeps putting more jobs on my list. Whoop, before you get on my case for calling my wife my OLD lady. I call her that because she calls me her OLD, FAT, BALD HEADED, STINKY HUSBAND! So, I GET TO CALL HER MY OLD LADY :). Anyways, I have my own list & she just keeps adding her ideas to my list.

View DocSavage45's profile


8519 posts in 2809 days

#5 posted 10-21-2012 08:24 AM

Guess I’m with Al the boxguy on this one. The amature or newbie says “When will it be finished?” The Master knows “It is never finished, there are just ends and beginnings”

As our clock winds down we become more aware of what is yet to be done.

I think Walter would have finished the car, and started another. Creation is part of life.


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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Monte Pittman

28946 posts in 2304 days

#6 posted 10-21-2012 09:55 AM

I understand your point, but I also would side with the never quit side. I need to be doing something. My dad died going to get on a tractor to move hay. He was 85. I also want to work till the end.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2239 days

#7 posted 10-21-2012 01:29 PM


Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

At times we act as if our peace and confidence is a matter of effort and self-control.
Being a good friend is the best we can hope to leave behind, the rest is just window dressing.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View ChuckV's profile


3111 posts in 3494 days

#8 posted 10-21-2012 02:46 PM

I am sorry for your loss, Cathy.

My Dad will be celebrating his 95th birthday next month. Over the years, I have watched how he has changed and adapted to the realities of his advancing age. He has never stopped learning, enjoying, doing and helping. But he has had the wisdom and foresight to move on when the time is right.

I can only hope that I will have half his wisdom in this regard.

Take care.

- Chuck

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2479 days

#9 posted 10-21-2012 03:50 PM

Awww Cathy, I am so sorry and saddened at the same time, saddened that Walter wasn’t able to do the things he loved doing, happy that you got to share part of you life with him, my dad is just now growing into that stage at the age of 80 and it’s sad.

My blessings and prayers

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3210 days

#10 posted 10-21-2012 03:58 PM

Thanks guys for your thoughtful and insightful comments. Al, you certainly make fine points, and I think that if Walter had an apprentice he wouldn’t have struggled in the end to finish the car. He could have watched as someone else did the final tuning, got those seat belts attached, replaced those nice rims, and polished it for a sale. He was so close….. It’s a fool’s game to gain knowledge and never share what you’ve learned. I thank you all for helping me see that if I take on an interested student, all my efforts and passion don’t go to waste. Maybe I could relax a little more…..

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2937 days

#11 posted 10-21-2012 09:55 PM

I, too, am sorry for your loss.
We all hate to loose anyone; especially in our circle.

I will never stop trying to work, because When you stop having goals you might as well be dead.

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3210 days

#12 posted 10-21-2012 11:02 PM

Michael, you are absolutely correct. I just came in from working on my rocking chair. Honestly there is nothing else that I would rather do than create furnishings from wood. Too bad my son got divorced recently because the chance for grandchildren just diminished! I’d like to pass along the couple of things that I’ve learned over the years. That will be a new mission for me…...
Have a great day.
BTW, the couldn’t agree more with your tag line!

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

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8519 posts in 2809 days

#13 posted 10-21-2012 11:43 PM

Wow and hawaiian apprenticeship! If you can afford the liability you might start a project program through the local high school or Jr. College?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2155 days

#14 posted 10-22-2012 02:02 AM

Hi Cathy,

I know you will miss Walter. I miss my Walter who passed this year as well. I think our Walter’s have something in common. Both of them were frustrated by their frailty. Both of them thought there was something else left to do.

There is something left to do. Our Walter’s taught us something. Our Walter’s passed an incredible piece of themselves to us. We can honor them by taking the leg up they gave use and reaching as high as we can. Stretching our fingers out and touching the stars because they gave us a boost. Our Walter’s lives are reflected as a masterpiece painting but the paint is not dry. Their masterpiece is still taking shape because they poured into us and now our lives are some of the fresh paint. For as long as you work with the lessons Walter passed on to you, his masterpiece becomes more and more priceless. If you pass on what Walter taught you… I think you can see where this is going.

I Feel for your loss but I also feel for your fortune of having such an incredible friend and mentor.

Cathy, You will never stop growing. I agree with the rest of the lumberjocks. There is no finish line. Live the rest of your life well. If there comes a day when your are too frail to do woodwork, pass your wisdom along. You might not be able to see the beauty of what you are doing all the time but I got a glimpse of your heart. I think you are creating a masterpiece.


-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3689 days

#15 posted 10-22-2012 03:08 AM

A very interesting approach to life and death and very practical, as realizing that your days are numbered gives one more insight that they need to start/finish projects or goals that they wish to finish or at least be on the pathway to before leaving this world. We tend to take for granted that we have an endless time to do the things we wish to do. It’s not just the length of one’s life, but the quality of the stay and as we grow older, our body wears down and we can no longer endure or challenge what we used to be able to.

There are so many projects that I wish to start and finish and have many unfinished projects on the sidelines. I will definately need to step up the pace with my activities and also learn to appreciate the time I can spend on them today. Projects are not the only thing to focus on, but relationships should be considered with this same importance. This inquiry brings a lot of things to light that I need to address.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3210 days

#16 posted 10-22-2012 04:44 AM

Thank you Mark for your encouragement and inspiration. I hear so many people say that your work is never done and I agree. I had to smile when Doc suggested that Walter would have started another car, if he had been able to finish the MGB. NO DOUBT about that! He was 91 years young and never felt that he was too old for anything. Meilie, you are correct to consider that time will wear you down and eventually go away all together. We must SEIZE THE DAY while the light still shines on us.

I want to thank all of you who have helped me process this sad event. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to receive your wisdom and counsel. My father-in-law once said, “As long as I am remembered, I will never die completely.” Yes, of course, well said Papa. I will try to keep Walter’s memory alive as well.
Have a wonderful evening…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2770 days

#17 posted 10-22-2012 12:50 PM

Firstly, you have all my sympathy in the loss of a friend and neighbor. I can relate whole heartedly. I have an 82 year old friend that lives across the street from me that I enjoy spending time and listening to his stories about his time on earth. We don’t know what cards will be dealt or when as far as that goes. Live every day like it’s your last. Enjoy all the beauty life has to offer. Lets all pay homage to all the good folks before us. They are how we learned the rights from the wrongs. Anyway, I’m done rambling. Very nice post. Again, sorry for your loss.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View TomTinkerSum's profile


226 posts in 3801 days

#18 posted 10-22-2012 05:20 PM

Aloha Cathy.
Our deepest sympathy – the a-g-e process ain’t for sissies – When I got into massage I thought I would specialize in sports – that what I really loved then, and art. When I started practicing I ended up specializing in medical and geriatric massage – they found me based on my reputation more than I choose the path. What surprised me (at 30 years old) is how my very favorite clients were the ones over 75 or 80 – I gained so much respect and love for people at this stage of their life as I began to understand what faced them – mortality in it’s most obstinate form. What opened my heart to love people even more is how I saw that none of these people saw themselves as ready to go – even if they could hardly move themselves around. It is interesting to see what inspires the soul to hold on and to continue working on this plane. The most vital part of staying alive is to keep moving and to keep moving you have to have something that gets you going – what would that be without wood? I have recently assessed my relationships – and realized that there are many in my garden I could “water” more frequently – maybe for artists it is just a little bit easier to get channeled into what we are doing and forget about the rest of the world. I hope that you will find your life’s soil rich with love and understanding and the kind of sharing that family and friends bring. I know you will find your apprentice should you seek one out. Tom deploys at the end of November – I would love to help you if you need –
All our best –
Summer and Tom too

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic.... :)

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20301 posts in 3072 days

#19 posted 10-23-2012 01:31 AM

Hi Cathy, that is very sad to lose such a good friend and neighbor. You had struck up something special in the appreciation of each others loves. That is so neat.

My dad died at 72 so I always say I have 6 yrs left. Who knows but God when our number will be up. I like to finish everything I start, but I have clipboards full of drawings that I’ll never start. I think person should go out doing the thing he or she loves best. Dying with tubes in me in a hospital bed is not what I would like to forsee.

I would like to go our skiing down a fast hill like Sonny Bono and have it over in a flash or have a massive heart attack while turning the heart out of big bowl. I’d like it to be said that I died doing what I liked best, but we never get to make that call.

The one thing that will change when we pass is the value we have in our tools, our fixtures, out templates and our notes that we use everyday in woodworking. The tools will be sold for what they will bring but the rest will most likely be discarded because the one who held their value is no more. That is sad that we each don’t have another woodworker who knows our work habits to take all the “other” things and put them to use in their projects. I’d like to have my survivors give all this “stuff” to any LJ who would place some value on it and give it a new home for future projects.

Cathy, thanks for starting this forum topic to get us thinking about the future and shed some light on our goals for project completion when we reach the end of the trail.

Have a happy life and I hope you find another Walter with whom to share each others passions…........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Gatorjim's profile


217 posts in 2171 days

#20 posted 10-23-2012 03:06 AM

Sorry for you loss Cathy. I only wish I had such a friend. I am sure I am not the olny person on LJ that dosnt really have any friends. Sure I know people I have lots of coworkers but sadly no one I can pat on the back and say this is my friend. It may seem shallow but I wonder about being remembered when I’m gone. Which is one of the reasons I do wood working the things I have made and will make hopefully will be around for a long time after me and hopefully some one will remember that I made it. I have a bedside table that I have always been told my grandfarther made I charish it. It’s beat up and ugly but i love it. I hope some day one of my grandkids will tell there spouse that yea its old but greatgrand dad made it. I have 5 kids my middle son is takeing and interest in woodworking so hopefully he’ll keep it and being new to this myself we can learn thing together. My 4 year old granddaughter comes out to the shop and pulls wood out of the scrapbin and builds piles. He dad is the one geting into wood.

-- My theroy in wood working will be. If I'm not enjoying doing it i won't do it.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3543 days

#21 posted 10-23-2012 03:56 AM

I’m sorry you loss a grand friend . We all have goals through our life and sometimes we achieve them with out thinking about it. I would guess Walter wanted to do his restoration work as long as he could, that’s what he did. As you and others have said we never know when our joinery through life or work will end and if those two will end at the same time or at different times . All we can do is share what we have and what we have learned , love all we can and enjoy the ride the best we can.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3210 days

#22 posted 10-23-2012 04:25 AM

This is my buddy, Walter, in the triumph that he rebuilt. He was such a character. From your comments and from my heart, I know I was lucky to have such a dear friend. Lest you think he was a benign fellow, let me set the record straight: he had a great sense of humor and taught me lessons, but made me laugh-a lot! He was the life of a party, loved people, loved to travel, loved sports cars and never acted his age. Ah, but I digress…....
I want to be Walter when I grow up. Imagine deciding at age 85 that you will completely redo your kitchen or bath by yourself, which would be comparable to completely tearing a car apart and rebuilding it from the frame up. Such audacity!
I agree with Jim. Does anyone but me know how important my jigs are? NO! When they cleaned out Walter’s garage, no one had a clue as to what some of his special tools were designed to do. If we could just have a little advanced warning, I know LJ’s would probably love and appreciate some of the tools that I use. Maybe we could find a way to get them to a home where they would be used and appreciated.
I think tools are made to be used. On the note, I bought an antique gouge once. It needed some cleaning. When I got home and cleaned it up, I noticed that there was name on the gouge. Honest to God, it was my maiden name! Did that guy ever know that one day a woman would cherish that tool as much as he did!!
Small world.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2155 days

#23 posted 11-01-2012 03:13 AM

Lots of good comments here. I think, like life itself, why we do what we do is often a mystery. If youi find something you really connect with, life is good.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3075 days

#24 posted 11-01-2012 03:25 AM

I have run into frustrations, myself, where there is the need for a feeling of completion and the irritation of having projects incomplete. Instead of a goal of total project completetion, I am striving to work, day by day, on task completion. What step can I perform today, within the timeframe I have in order to complete it. When my time comes, I may have an unfinished project but, more than likely, will have the next step completed with enough notations for the next person to know where I left off.

Sorry for your loss Cathy,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3210 days

#25 posted 11-01-2012 05:17 AM

How foolish am I to think that I can control even a second of my life! Like Walter, I’ll leave something undone. With any maturity, I’ll be okay with that. It was just a chasing after the wind…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2949 days

#26 posted 11-01-2012 06:06 AM

i think alot of knowledge and wisdom has come of your writings. so many thoughtful statements. i like al the boxguy’s
thoughts, and yours cathy.such retrospect of life,and of times to come, and how to go out on top somehow; if we had one second of any amount of controll. but we don’t.
my brother at 53;4 years younger than me; died 4 weeks ago in his sleep. heart attack. if you had to go, that would be the way to go. no pain or suffering. i’m still trying to figure this “life” thing out. seems planning your next project, never really being finished completely, sounds like a good plan. teaching the youth, seems like a good plan too! well so much for my posting; sorry about Walter.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2809 days

#27 posted 11-01-2012 12:13 PM

I have an opposite opinion. I don’t care if I leave things unfinished. I plan on doing all I can right up until the day I go. My reasoning is that I’ve watched several loved ones stop. Then I watched those same loved ones go downhill quickly once they stopped.
Myself, I got down and spent about two and a half years in a wheelchair at one point in my life. During that time, other health issues kept me pretty much from doing anything. My health declines at an ever accelerated pace. Deep depression sat in, and it was the biggest fight of my life to come back from it. I know now from experience. If I ever stop completely, my days on this earth will be very numbered.

All that being said, I do not wish to leave a mess of projects strawn all over the place for my loved ones to have to destroy or complete. Therefore, when at all possible, I always try to complete one project before starting another.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#28 posted 11-02-2012 12:34 AM

Glad you made it back form the brink William. I experienced pretty much the same thing when I was overdosed on Topamax by Dr Malpractice. Then Dr Know It All, the Topamax expert, wanted me on massive doses of Seroquel sentencing me to thumb twiddling and starring out a window for the rest of my life! Firing those guys taking control of my malpractice recovery plus migraine prevention has been a challenge, to say the least. Those hazardous materials that were prescribed cause depression in nearly everyone. I was no exception. These experiences do change your out look on life and mortality. My biggest question I am struggling with is whether or not to hide $20 bills in my books for them to hunt or just tell them there might be some because my memory was so bad on Topamax, but I don’t know ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3075 days

#29 posted 11-02-2012 12:45 AM

Topamax, kind of reminds me of that old joke about a son who asks his mother for a hundred bucks to help him with some debt. A week later he got a box with a bible with a note that said “All your problems can be solved by searching inside”. Annoyed he threw it in a corner and left it there. A couple months later, he let his mom know that he didn’t appreciate the lack of help. His mother said “Did you get the bible I sent you?” “Yes,” he replied. “Did you open it?” “No, of course not.” “Well if you would have, you would have found the envelope with a hundred bucks in it.”

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2041 days

#30 posted 11-02-2012 01:16 AM

Hi Cathy,

Sorry for your loss. It sounds like Walter was a neat old guy.
Death has a way of kicking us in the butt and making us do inventory of our lives.

One of my favourite expressions is “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Two years ago, I completed my 3rd marathon, worked full-time, baked cookies at midnight for the kids’ lunches, and would still have energy to socialize. My plan was to live that life for many more years.

I took ill very suddenly and all my plans went out the window. Among other things, I’m dealing with neuropathy that has now progressed into my hands. The thought of losing my ability to use them, or being in too much pain really made me take stock of the time I have left (I’m gunning for at least another 40 years!)

The amazing thing that I’ve discovered is how adaptable we are. Each day we have a choice – to make the best of what we have and move forward, or waste a day that we’ll never get back by focusing on what we can no longer do.

It doesn’t sound like you waste too many days, and maybe you learned that from Walter.

LJ posts aren’t usually heavy with hugs ;) but hugs anyway,


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2534 days

#31 posted 11-02-2012 01:17 AM

Sorry to hear about Walter. Sounds like a good friend and neighbor. A long as you smile when you think of him, his work isn’t done.

Its not about the car he never got a chance to finish. Its about the enjoyment that’s coming from all of the ones he did.

Keep the faith.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#32 posted 11-02-2012 02:07 AM

That is a good one David ;-)

Sandra hit the nail on the head! You either thankful for what you have and move forward or waste away. My family never knew how bad migraines were for many years until the Topamax Disaster. No need to burden them with things they cannot control. I believe this should be our attitudes as age takes a few of our abilities. BE thankful, be happy and enjoy what you can do.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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