Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Woodworker

Axe handles and hash pipes, crosses and rosary beads. Nick runs his generator intermittently day and night to power hand tools, grinding and polishing his signature shapes. He is slowly piecing together another layer of flooring in his rig, hammering it down tight at all hours.  His workshop fills the open space in the back of his Class C RV, and I wish I had something similar as a studio for painting. He has arranged a beautiful collection of saws, hatchets and knives, decorating the walls around his wood stove. He hikes out into the sage flats, finding old wood and interesting bits of antique iron tools. The axe blade pictured below is a very old piece of steel from China.

We share Critter Control stories; he delivers a long rambling oral blog about the squirrels that attacked him in Tuttle Creek, rats that have tried to leap through his windshield, bouncing off and trying again at the side and back windows. Mice that colonized his bath and toilet cabinet. He is fond of the pretty wood rats, or pack rats — calls them the "Mae Wests of rodent society," since they have thick plush fur and a tufted tail to swing around like a boa — which he demonstrates with his bandana.

He has traveled over the Western states working machine shop and mechanical repair jobs; he says he can recognize a bolt from a car he worked on in 1978, but didn't learn to read until he was 50 years old. He noticed that his wooden crosses sold well at street fairs and craft festivals for several years, but dried up after the Catholic sex abuse scandals hit the news. He claims to be dyslexic and feels defeated by paperwork of any kind; he is currently struggling to file the forms necessary to collect Social Security benefits. 

He has been a good neighbor to me in the Independence Creek Campground and I wish him well. If you pray, please say a prayer for Nick the Woodworker.

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