Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Old Book

Af alwayf, firft the background.
Before you read this, sit for just a moment and try to remember your earliest childhood memory. Can you remember things which happened to you when your were four years old? Three? Or even two?
I have memories of trips taken on steam locomotives to New York City when I was two and a half years old. Clear memories of Yankee Stadium, and staying at the Dixie Hotel. I remember certain events when I was three years old. One of these events was going on a car trip to Springfield, Ohio with my mother and father and grandparents. It was for a get together of my grandfather's family the night before the funeral of his uncle. I was told to be on my good behavior. Polite, in another words. I still vividly remember the house and all the relatives gathered around a huge dining room table. I can remember all the wood in the house too. There were massive mantles, huge wooden paneled doors, and one which slid into the wall. The house smelled like old people. You know the smell. After the "meeting" we all went down in the basement and Grandpa and mom carried things out to the trunk of grandpas Ford. One of the items was a small chest or trunk. Not a big trunk, more like what I thought was the size of a treasure chest. I distinctly remember asking my mother what was in it. She said memories.
The trunk was more or less forgotten about until I was about twenty five or so. My grandfather passed away and we cleaned out all his belongings and found space for them as we could. The trunk resurfaced and was stored in mom's attic. We went through it then, and I was reminded of the importance of it's contents. I was told then that it was to stay in the family.
In 1995 my mother fell ill and moved in with us here. Her house was sold, the house I grew up in, and all the contents of importance came north with me.No easy task. The trunk resurfaced again. It wasn't until about six years ago when I became computer literate, and interested in family history, that I began scanning and copying old photographs, documents, researching family history and wondering how in the hell I'd come into possession of that old book. I mean, I know how I got it, where it had come from, but just how did I come into possession of it? I researched it some, and found some information about, and even tried to read it. I never got very far. Shakespeare gave me headaches in high school and this simply, as far as I was concerned was just unreadable. What with the language and oh yes the religious subject matter. Never been big on religion.
Some of the other contents of the trunk were interesting, too.
There are handwritten manuscripts from great uncle Calvin about the family's roots in Pennsylvania and later around Wheeling, West Virginia, and Zanesville, Ohio, which were founded and settled by my ancestors. I am related to among others, Zane Grey, Tecumseh and Betty Zane.

But back to the book. That is, after all, what the post is about. I have learned over the years that Thomas Shepard was a pastor at the Church of Christ in Cambridge, was one of the "founders" of Harvard, but more importantly, He was the son in law of your man Thomas Hooker. That's why I was so taken aback when I started reading your blog and YOU started following mine.
Fate is really an odd thing, and oh yef, it really if a fmall world!
p.s. If you would like to contact me about the book with questions or dialogue, I would really enjoy hearing from you. I am at and look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The True Story of Wishbone

This post has nothing to do with woodworking, it is the follow up to a prior promise of an explanation for the wishbone reference in an earlier post.

First the background.

About six or seven years ago, pardon me, but I'm absolutely horrible with dates and time, my daughter remarried. I already had one granddaughter, Kaitlin, from her first marriage. She is almost thirteen now, for reference.

About five years ago, on Christmas day, Kaitlin and I partook in a family tradition. A tradition of several years, anyway. As per tradition the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey is saved to dry out for that quick snap after Christmas dinner. I made my wish and she made hers. Now in my own defense, let me say that I'm not at all superstitious, but I do believe in two opportunities for wishes. Wishbones and falling stars. And this wishbone snap was won by myself. When she asked 'what did you wish for', I told her that it was bad luck to tell your wishes, and that she would just have to wait to find out. One other thing which might be be noted now, is that I do believe that, in order for any of these wishes to come true, they must not be in the least bit selfish. You must always wish for the best for someone else, no winning lottery tickets or Porsches.

Late in January next year.

My wife and daughter, Wendi, work together for the same hospital, seperated by two floors. I can't remember now whether I'd picked her up from work, or whether it was after she'd gotten home, but my wife, Kathy, informed me rather nonchalantly, That Wendi was preggers. If you are asleep by now, wake up, because now it gets interesting. Without much pause, I picked up the cell phone and called Kaitlin and asked her if she remembered the Christmas last year wishbone. She said she did, and I gloated that wishbone wishes DID come true, and I had gotten mine. That I'd wished for a grandson. She asked why I'd wished for THAT, and I told her: "So I would have someone to go fishing with. She told me, "Papa, I'll go fishing with you anytime!"

Needless to say there was much disbelief on everone elses' part, but that was EXACTLY what I'd wished for. When Wendi poo-pooed it, all I could say was wait till a little later, and when it's a boy, maybe you'll have a little more faith in your old man. And remember too, it was me who told you Kaitlin was going to be a girl early on. (I dreamed it.) After the ultrasound, everyone changed their tune.

That's him, Richard Jonathon, RJ for short, Wishbone as I call him, at the top. He's named after his Dad and I.

Needless to say when Christmas wishbones are snapped now, there are a lot of requests and warnings. The other side note to this story is that when Wishbone is old enough to ask that 'where did I come from question', everyone was told just to have him call his papa. I'll explain it.


Now for the tease for the next post, for my one and only follower:

I have something I think you'll be VERY interested in. It involves a first edition (I think), of a seventeeth century piece of what I believe is English literature(?) If seventeeth century is 1649, I'll be alright.

I'll have to ask you to do some research and some splainin' because I can't make head nor tails of it, and I've not been able to find much information about it on the web. It is of a religious nature, and ought to be right up your PHD alley.

Does Thomas Shepard ring any bells?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back in the Old Rut

Let time slip away again.
I didn't realize it's been two months since the last post. Wish I had more to post, but I'm happy to just report that I'm back among the American workforce.
I'm still delivering fuel to the motoring public, but now it's gas instead of diesel, so I don't have the eternal stink to deal with. There are other benefits as well, and I am far happier than with the last situation, with the exception of the longer commute and the longer hours. I just wish I could say that the extra income will allow more shop time, projects and supplies, but that time thing never seems to work out. 
Seems you can have time or money, but never both.

On a sweeter note, I did manage to score what I think will be some beautiful turning stock. It is from an ornamental maple tree, which died a natural death several years ago. It has some spalting and a lot of crotch wood, which should make some great bowls, boxes and possibly hollow vessels. I'm really excited about the possibilities. All I have to do is get it stabilized and dried out without checking.