Year 13, Week 18, Day Three (week 694)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-27-13 Monday - Memorial Day
88 degrees, loads of grey puffs with blue sky between, and no sunshine. We did get a couple dots of liquid Sunshine while driving but none fell on us directly. This Weather report is brought to you by the City Of Lantana Florida Department of Tourism.
It was Memorial day today. We decided to go visit Dad's grave in the National Cemetery in Palm Beach County.
My dad was born in 1917. He served in World War 2 as a Tank Destroyer driver with Patton's army. Many years after the war, he met my mom and convinced her to marry him. Together, they raised four children, I am the youngest of them, working at the Bethlehem Steel Mill in Seattle as a crane operator.
My dad was a can-do person. He built our house from scratch, digging the basement by hand in clay soil after the house was built. As I was growing up, He could fix cars, work electricity, put up fences, grow a wonderful garden each year, cook when necessary. He seemed to be able to do absolutely anything.
When I was in highschool, I was trying to decide what kind of person I should be. I was stunned when It dawned on me that I should be Dad. I have to admit that I failed. My brother is very much like dad.
In the late 70s, Mom and Dad moved to Florida, and six months later I came to visit and never had the money or brains enough to leave....
In his retirement which was at 58, Dad was busy with all sorts of projects. He learned many crafts and hobbies. He kept complaining that he was so busy he needed to retire.
In the years around 1999, I would come up to visit Mom and Dad and would sit and write on the laptop, or build wooden structures for my model railroad. Dad's main hobby at the time was wood carving. It dawned on me that he was in his 80s and I did not want that "I WISH I SAID, I WISH I HAD DONE" situations. I took a piece of wood and borrowed one of his knives and did my first carving. I am still proud of that carving. I did others. I jokingly tell people that the way Dad taught me to carve was to pat me on the head and say "very good, carve another one".
He did teach me to make knives, provided tools for many projects such as introducing me to the lathe. Ie provided inspiration to make even more carvings, and do them even when he was in the hospital.
I never realized how good a wood carver he really was until during his last few years. He did projects such as making clay faces of my brother's and sister's children that were so good you could recognize who they were. He intended to carve them in wood but never got to that. He made accurate elk, and chainsaw carved. His favorite subject though, was cowboys, golfers, and clowns, in the Ozark flat plane style of carving.
I did not accurately copy his style. Mine was more modern sloppy... I guess you would call it. I do love complex positions of the people, bent legs and arms, kneeling, sitting, When Dad carved a woman, you knew it was a woman even if she was dressed as a man. I have to use the hair and other features for my carvings to day "woman."
Now my dad, in his years, painted paintings, did string pictures, macrame, worked in clay and in wood. He tried just about everything before he settled totally on wood carving and scroll sawing.
Dad taught me to be a devout believer in hobbies. Up until the last couple months of his life, he was busy with is crafts and hobbies rather than sitting in a rocking chair and waiting. In his last days, scroll sawing was his hobby, making ornate clocks. Curves were very easy for him and he did them with great accuracy, but Mom had to do straight lines for him as he could not seem to cut a straight line any more.
Dad would likely have lived to be a hundred except he kept hurting himself. He was on a bicycle and having replaced the brakes, had them adjusted wrong. He hit the brakes hard because of a fast truck and he went head over heals and broke his hip. He recovered nice from there. Another time he was showing a friend a cut on the band saw and touched the blade with the back of his hand, cutting the tendons. Many years later, he pinched a nerve in his back and had pain in his leg after that. a while later he was bending down to pick something up and he fell down breaking his other hip. He did not recover as fast this time as he was afraid of falling.
One day, He was working on a scroll saw project in the garage. He walked out front in the bright sun shining on the white pavement and walls. He went into the house which was extremely dark. He could not see. He took hold of the arm of the chair and sat down, but he was on the wrong side of the arm, not grabbing both arms as the doctors tried to teach him. He landed on the floor and broke his arm. He went down hill from there. a few months later, his body started shutting down. He was able to attend Thanksgiving, but died a couple days later. Mom was with him and my brother and I arrived a few hours later.
He is now buried in the Lantana National Cemetery, placed there before it opened to the public. Usually, at least twice a year, Mom and I go and visit his grave and remember the wonderful times we had with him.
I am really ashamed to admit that he was my father. That is because I fear people will expect more out of me. The same goes for my Mom. They are both so talented and wonderful that there is no way I can live up to their standards.
I have loads of projects to do next week, along with materials that need to be used up. I am not going to even hazard a guess as to what I will end up doing. I will leave that to what interests me and what comes up at the time.
I will see what I actually do next week.
Pasta roller / cutter I got for my birthday