“First Door On The Right! And Be Careful . . . !”

“Awe, crap . . . !”


a-crapper1

Those were the final FCC approved two words which fell from my mouth in his parent’s first floor powder room (which remains a gallery for the family’s monogrammed and sun-bleached bathroom set) a nano-second after I recognized a rising water level in the bowl.  Debris would leisurely bob and dunk as an improbable fresh water toilet tank tsunami added gallon upon gallon upon gallon of fresh water that was uplifting the residual debris which were bushwhacked by the unexpected gridlock, and now cascades down the cold, white porcelain moving across the floor like urban crawl, defiling everything in its path.

At which time I foolhardy reached for the precious, handed down through generations, hand woven and monogrammed bathroom set

a-plunger1(upon which not a single drop of moisture touched it’s surface) but has hastily been inducted into the Le Grand Corps de Craps, an esteemed pile of rags: been somethings, used to be used for, or, it had wiped his bouncy little bottom well past ten.  Now retired and living out their days as “first responders” should absorption or heat require instantaneous dispatch, each of them, whether flannel, Egyptian Cotton, or terry cloth are proud to arrive at the incident first and they all know that this or the next alarm might be their last.  But every single member of the Le Grand Corps de Craps hopes and prays that their final call isn’t a clogged toilet.  After all, who wants their coup de grace to be wiping up someone else’s crap.

a-hellokitty

Simple Square Box and Coasters

image I’m pleased to share my latest woodworking project, aptly named Simple Square Box and Coasters.  The commission originally asked for a simple slap-together wooden box in which he could place a necklace he purchased for his niece as a Christmas present.  So the slap-together wooden box would be tossed into the same heap of recently bloomed ribbons of nylon and a pile-up of ripped and twisted wrapping paper resembling a fog-induced tangle of abstract alloy.  Really, who remembers the wrapping paper of a long-forgotten gift they received at an indiscriminate holiday, the exception being gifts which modify destiny such as an engagement ring, new car, or divorce papers.  But I couldn’t imageshake the thought; an insignificant wooden coffer hand-crafted to exact dimensions whose sole purpose rose no higher than the oft ignored cardboard box, one of millions prefabricated generic boxes produced by manufacturers. Yet this box really should´ve been seen as the first part of her gift, but instead was just another obstacle to obliterate in a doggedly pursuit of the delightful bauble inside.  And after a few perfunctory refined and delightful “thank you’s,” the delicate bauble was distractedly deposited into her motherCoasters on Display´s cupped hands.  Her mother  placed the bauble (whose importance continued to nose-dive like the stock exchange in 1929) among other gifts.  And the slap-together box had been exiled to the paper mountain, and eventually would be crushed by the insensitive jaws of an indiscriminate refuse collector. Had I blithely reached into my pile of left-over lumber and found a throw-away board I suppose the box would experience a fate very similar to the one above.  However, a particular piece of Poplar caught my eye because of its deliciously creamy base color and like a dried riverbed, a thick, malted-milk brown ran the length of the board which was absent of blemishes, gouges, chips, and knots, a cappuccino’s foam decorated by a creative barista; or, the faintly dusting of heat transforming the peaks of whipped meringue from snow-covered to densely charred remnants of a serial forestimage fire.  I held the six-foot board respectfully in my hands, looked for cupping or warping at its ends like a sharpshooter whose focus remained on his target.  I found the board to be true then placed it on the workbench to calculate the cuts. That’s when it began. I can’t find words to describe it, but it was like balance on a bicycle: no one handed you a ball of balance, you simply had balance.  My experience with that board couldn’t be taught or handed down.  It wasn’t an indicator of mania.  It was simply, to respect the trees life in the differing colors of its rings.  Those rings identified that tree like fingerprints identify people.  And yet it was more:  I felt a growing sensitivity and responsibility to work with the lumber to create an object of beauty.  The longer I listened to the sensitivity of the wood, the greater my awareness of the woods signature became.  It was then that I worked with the wood, and so did the wood with me.

Humphrey Tales: All Manor of Cat at Downy Birch (the Foreword)

The stories you’re about to read took place in a town very much like your own.  And the streets, and the gardens, and the two-footed, unusually tall, disturbingly loud, rambunctious then ravenous, warm-lapped for napping human‘s (as I’ve heard them called) are all, coincidently, similar to your’s in your town.  With one very distinct difference:  In Cricklade, a marvelous miracle occurred.  Humphrey was born.

Humphrey has an unusual talent, even beyond the mystical reputation of Jellicoe Cats (tuxedo or black-on-white Cats).  Humphrey has the blessing of serendipity, cousin to the enormously influential Providence, under whose influence Humphrey was born at the musty corner of a dank basement.

Borne into the Royal Order of One, Humphrey’s FemmeFeline (that is, his birth feline), was an orphan herself.  She’d been abandoned in a bus line repair shop, so that the nameless mother might survive that bitterly brutal winter.  Humphrey’s mother, just another anonymous female, it is rumored, had the kind of litter which occurs only once in every 62,835 litters brought into this village every decade: The litter came to be known simply as The One Litter.

This fortuity often delivered hope to all cats;  The One Litter brought one Tom Cat predestined to a higher standard, and the true spirit of feline friendship, duty, and allegiance to whomever discovers Tom Cat, The Litter of One.

The talent Humphrey possesses is the ability to communicate with whomever rescues him from oblivion after being orphaned by his nameless mother.  This human will give Tom Cat his true Jellicoe Name (as communicated to him by the kitten he just found).  And everyone that meets Humphrey will think it is the perfect name (which it is).

These are the adventures of Humphrey, the cat of Downy Birch Manor and his Great Purpose?  To dethrone the Mongrel Canine and the moniker “Man’s Best Friend,” thus returning to all felines the righteous mantel and distinctive title designated by a human clan: He’s-Part-of-The-Family and with that moniker comes the Fireside-Favorite-of-the-Four-Footed-Feline, in the case of Downy Birch, an age old Hearth Braided Rug.