Reflecting on 2021

The second year of COVID proved quite challenging. It began with my dad living with us for the first few days. He had COVID late in 2020 and spent two rounds in the hospital with a brief time between at his home. He lost so much strength he needed rehab and we were committed to making sure he did not have to go to a nursing home since we could not visit him there. The loneliness in the hospital had been so hard on him.

Right as he was making improvements he had a massive stroke and died a few days later. His death has impacted me in ways I did not anticipate. Debra and I both are thankful for the time we had with him while he sought to recover. 2021 began with this deep loss.

Daddy was an insurance agent. That’s how he supported our family for my whole life. So he left me some money in a policy. I had been thinking about purchasing a wood turning lathe. Now I had the means to get a really high quality machine.

My dad loved buying, trading and owning automobiles (at his death he owned three). It was the one thing he invested significant money into purchasing. But he probably enjoyed selling them almost as much as buying. He likely would have been happy if I had invested that money in a car, but that was his deal, not mine.

I had to order my lathe and wait for it to be shipped. I used the time to watch lots of YouTube videos on wood turning. While I have done lots of types of woodworking since taking classes for three years high school, I had done very little turning and never turned any bowls.

Robust American Beauty wood turning lathe

My lathe arrived in April and I started turning almost immediately. It took even longer for my sharpening system to arrive, but I completed a few bowls while waiting. Here’s the one out of that early group which garnered the most comments:

A small ironic twist dawned on me one day as I was turning. My dad was not mechanically inclined. While patient with people, he could become very impatient with projects where he had to use his hands. Even as a kid I had to remove destroyed oil filters from under his cars. Daddy did not give me my love for woodworking. But he did keep the surviving piece I made for my high school senior project–a small oak table.

I took three years of woodworking in high school. My school only offered two years. No, I did not fail and retake one year. I loved it so much I requested an extra year and bartered with the instructor to make it possible. During my second year I noted that he cut out all the wood parts which went into a lamp that the first year students all had to build. I offered to cut out all those parts for him before I did any other project. Combine that with me having a second study hall at the time the second year class met and he was agreeable if the principal and guidance counselor were okay. They approved the idea.

Because of my desire to take an extra year, Mr. Eslick thought of me when he was asked to recommend a student for a summer job at a local guitar factory. This commendation helped me get the summer job, while I attended Bible college. Now I have come full circle.

The lathe is made by Robust. This particular model is the American Beauty. In their promotional materials and parts listing it is referred to as the AB. That was my dad’s given name. His mom almost died during delivery. The midwife recommended he be named AB. The first letter came from his mom’s first name, Annie. The second letter came from his dad’s second name, Benton. There is something very appropriate in all of this. While not the gift Daddy would have ever selected for me, it does remind me of him often.

I plan to retire from my position as Global Coach at the end of 2022. In 2023 I anticipate doing a lot more woodturning on my AB.

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