|A few treasured mementos from the Studley Exhibit. The work apron I wore in costume and a small pocket "tchotchke" with embellishments cast directly from the molds of details from the cabinet.|
Without getting too spiritual, I've always believed that phenomenon occurs when you are standing in exactly the right place you're supposed to be. These events can be either obviously significant or weirdly benign, but the connection to your life's story exists.
It happened playing in a forest near a campground with my cousin Mark. It happened the day I got into my first serious fist fight in sixth grade. Sledding down a hill in Bemidji Minnesota in fourth grade. A foot race with my little brother on a family vacation. The day I married my wife and the way the sun shined through the stained glass windows of the church during the ceremony. The hours leading up to and during the very different births of each my three daughters. Standing in an operating room, watching smoke start to roll out of the back of the anesthesia machine, and having the wherewithal to unplug the electrical cord and avert disaster while others panicked. My first car accident (my fault). Being an overrated teenage asshole to my father as he tried his best to understand and deal with my overly-complicated psyche. Getting kicked out of a theology class for arguing with a nun about whether or no I was going to keep my shoes on. (I was not raised Catholic, I just ended up in a Catholic school for a while. Long story.)
Good, bad, bitter and sweet, the moments write your story.
Roughly a year ago I added a whole weekend of those moments to my life. Being a part of the H.O. Studley exhibit has become one of the solid cores to who I am as a craftsman. The cabinet and the workbench and the company of Don Williams and the rest of the crew. I don't have words, and that's not usually a problem for me.
To this day I will still read someone on social media say something dismissive about the lone surviving works of a distinctive master and I will sit back an wonder. Some folks just aren't meant to understand I guess. I wish I could develop my experience into a virus that could infect them with the same understanding I've come to find.
Then I realize I just have to be proud of the fact that I do get it, and there are other people who are smarter than me, who I respect and look up to, who get it too.
It's a rare thing, standing witness to greatness. A year ago I was allowed to punch one of the stamps on my card. Afterwards you can't just walk away, you carry it with you always.
Thank you Don. I can never say it enough.
|This photo courtesy of Narayan Nayar.|