Jan 012014
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We try to do a Christmas Wish List every year along with a New Year’s Resolution List. A time for reflection on the old year and plans for the new, I always find it a bittersweet time. I have never been one for changes, but this year brought some big ones and the next will bring even more. I’m that guy who just wants to get it all fixed right and then freeze it in place and never have to worry about it again. But alas, that is not always a good thing as the wallpaper in the master bath at my house will attest.

From last year’s resolutions, I did learn to carve last year. I went to the class with Mary May at Roy Underhill’s School and enjoyed it thoroughly. The woman is good! I also went to the John Campbell Folk School and carved a Carousel Horse Head. I learned how to do it fairly well, but I think I have filled my quota for carving for the next few years.

I went back to New Hampshire in the spring and made another Windsor Chair with Mike Dunbar. One of my favorite “Chair”-rities benefited from that one and they were able to sell it at a silent auction for the benefit of some kids.

In August, I went on a two week construction trip (not on the resolution list) back to Vietnam after 45 years. About 40 Vietnam Vets and family went with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for families in the Mekong Delta of what used to be South Vietnam. I recommend it highly — it was a great trip.

Some of the old resolutions from a couple of years ago are still hanging fire. Do they ever expire or do I have to agonize over them from now on? How do you kill them off? So for this New Year, I will make a few new resolutions and try to finish up some of those old ones which are still valid. Here goes:

I will pick out at least two more classes this year. I really like the classes so I can spend a week out of town, learn something new, and be forced into completing a project. I don’t take vacations, I take classes. Highland has many classes scheduled this year and they are easy to get to, whether or not you live in Atlanta. For instance, Peter Galbert is coming back to Atlanta in March for another one of his wonderful classes on chair building. Check the web site for a complete list.

I will try to read all the woodworking books lying around the house. I have a beautiful handmade Windsor Chair (backdoor brag!) full of woodworking books and I need to get through them. Hate to buy books and not read them, but even worst is to buy a new magazine and then come home and realize I bought it before.

I want to continue to volunteer in the New Year and I would urge you to do so. Lots of the people reading this will have skills useful to many volunteer organizations. You know I build with my local Habitat affiliate, but there are over 1600 affiliates in the U.S. There is an affiliate close to you run by good people that you would enjoy being around. Call them up and offer your services.

My Habitat Affiliate We also build houses out of gingerbread.

My Habitat Affiliate
We also build houses out of gingerbread.

And one more left over from last year — Remember the newlywed wife on the flight home to Atlanta on Christmas night 2012? Her six month husband had left just two weeks before Christmas for deployment to Afghanistan. She was headed back to their house on a naval base in the Carolinas, by herself, late on Christmas night, to a dark, cold and very lonely place. He was due home this Christmas 2013. His name is Wade and he’s a Navy Corpsman. I’ve thought about him often this year and I hope and pray and wish I knew that he made it home safely to that lovely young woman. I resolve to honor and remember our military at every opportunity.

Happy New Year!!

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