2/11/12 - The Things We Make by Hand

My father died in 2004 yet I have reminders of him each day. 

8 years ago, not long before he died, he made a then 8 year-old something he called a spinner.  It's a piece of wood that serves as a handle, and on top of it is a little propeller.  My father carved it because he loved wood. 

It's made so that when a little boy runs around in the yard, that propeller turns like the propeller on an airplane.  On the handle my father carved that 8 year-old's name.

Here's a picture:


That 8 year-old is now a 6'2" 16 year-old young man.  His name is still Carlton although now he likes to be called Carl and he plays baseball and football.  He's my oldest son. 

But my younger son is only 5, and while his name's not on that spinner, he found it in his brother's room, and now he likes to play with it.  He's very interested in how it was made too, and he likes the hand-carved letters.

I do too.  I love the way my father carved that name on the handle, the even way each letter came together.  And I love that propeller and how he carved it from one piece of wood. He saw that propeller before it was a propeller.  He saw how it made a handle into a spinner, and he saw a boy running in the yard with it, calling out, "Best day ever!" while he ran.

There's something about that being hand-made that appeals to me, maybe because it has lasted on for another son of mine to play with.  And, maybe it's also because I miss him still, and those letters remind me of him.  Both are perfectly fine reasons.

We love the things we make by hand don't we?  The things we start from scratch or what we form from our imaginations and then make into real things.  Things we can touch.  Things we can pass down.  There's something sturdy and meaningful in the things we make by hand. 

Today's as good a day as any to ask yourself this:  what are you making?

Posted by Jack Williams at 09:33


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