As I arrived in Fort Worth, driving through the downtown to the convention centre with my wood and my backpack, I couldn’t help but remember all the times I had been in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in years past to promote woodworking at different venues. The trees here are bud-bursting with the energy only Springtime brings. Mocking birds crisscross the bushes and trees and nests are already started too. What word best describes yesterday? For me it was vibrant, emotive, dynamic and I suppose historic in that many key things from the Lone Star state moulded and shaped my past, future and so. my present.
Here is another of my Texas rocking chairs made from mesquite
After setting up my bench and laying out my tools and demo wood, I walked to the entrance and was greeted by my friends, Bonnie and Terry at the door. Noon, when the doors of the show opened, the seats filled I my demo area and when I turned around I was amazed that the seats were filled with so many people I have known and trained through the past twenty years. From there on it was all greetings and hugs for the whole day. Texas Friendly relived and revived; floods of wonderful memories, shared life in spheres no man could ever dream possible. Generally we can try to plan our future, but we really have no way of knowing which direction life will take us. Looking back at my past, I see how little of it was planned by me, how little of it I might have chosen, but how rich it is in the people I have come to know through this thing we call woodworking.
Here’s the thing. My friends that came today came to my classes in Texas when I started my first teaching. It was here that I formulated the reality that with ten hand tools and three joints you could make just about anything from wood. I developed a curriculum following this premiss that would train thousands and thousands of woodworkers worldwide. Big Town Convention centre in Mesquite near Dallas was the then venue for The Woodworking Shows’ show and that was where the symbiotic relationship between me and the Woodworking Shows began. That was 18 years ago now.
…this was me before my beard turned grey. (Caused by teaching woodworking in Texas)
A couple in the audience today, Bill and Susie, made a gift to me of $1200 for me to buy my first digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 5700. How did that happen? I think it could be about 12 years ago when a man, a scientist from Nasa, was in my class. He had been taking pictures with a digital camera and at the end of a week’s class with me, put together a slide show of images and showed them on his laptop to the whole class. I made a comment, “That’s what I need.” This was the first time I had ever seen a digital camera and the results of what it could do. Two days late, Bill and Susie presented me with the gift, so that they could participate in the future yet to unfold for me. Little did they know then that that would enable me to write articles and books, record events, teach and train people not just in the USA but countries across every continent.
Little did they know I would be able to capture this picture of me with my son using my first digital camera.
It would take too much space to tell of those who have invested in my life along the way here in Texas, but I can say a big Texas Thankyou!!!