My Friend Harry…

I met Harry in 2006. I stopped by his place to inquire about raising brown-egg chickens.  When I explained why I was there, the first thing he told me was, “Well, you can’t make any money at it!”  Then he kinda look at me over the top of his glasses, for my reaction.  I replied, “Okay, fine.  Now what can you tell me about raising brown-egg chickens?”  And we have been friends ever since.

Harry is a master carpenter.  A few years back (like 37 or so) he was stricken with cancer, and had to quit his “real job.”  So he began building things for folks, and has done quite well at it.  His work is just beautiful!  I don’t know if there isn’t anything in woodworking that Harry can’t do?

From 2006 until late last year Harry and I maintained a casual acquaintance.  Every now and then I would stop by to visit with him and his wife.  We talked about everything, and about ‘nothing.’  If I was ‘stuck’ on a wood project of my own, Harry would have the answer.  Usually something ‘simple,’ that I hadn’t thought of.  Go figure?

Somewhere along the line Harry gave me the name, “Sky King.”  Don’t know when, but that is how he introduces me to all his friends today.  I kinda like it…

When you meet Harry, you might sense he is a bit “rough around the edges.”  And he might be; but I have met fewer people with a heart as big as his!  He and I share a great deal in common; besides woodworking and raising chickens.  Neither of us suffer fools, politicians or bureaucrats very well at all.  And neither one of us are able to hold our contempt for such individuals.  Is that bad?  I think not…

Last Fall Harry asked me if I would be interested in building a canoe with him.  My first, knee-jerk reaction was “no.”  I am somewhat intimidated with ‘curves’ – in woodworking.  (Need to be clear about this here.)  Then, on the way home from his place, I began thinking, “Hey dummy, why not take Harry up on his offer?  It’s an opportunity to work with a ‘master.'”  So, I called him back, and told him, while not interested in building a canoe myself, I wouldn’t mind helping him.

We began work on his canoe in early January.

Once I put on the first strip of the canoe, I was hooked!  And I knew I would soon be building my own.

As we began work on Harry’s canoe we took a trip to the Amish country – to a lumber yard that carries exotic lumber.   It’s about a 3-hour drive over there, but it goes by so fast when we travel together.  It has been on these trips that I have gotten to know and love Harry.

Harry is funny; he will drop everything and head to “Amish” in a heartbeat.  I have been with him and at the very mention of needing to go over there, he will look at his watch and say, “If we leave now…”  Funny as Hell; because I think he’s serious!

I don’t know why but I tend to gravitate toward ‘friends’ who give me shit.  And Harry has to be right up there with my “best friends!”  Yesterday we were working on my canoe and I ran out of clamps.  I know Harry loves me because of all the CRAP he gave me!

This morning I have to pick him up so we can be at Harbor Freight when it opens – to buy more clamps.  And I best get going because I don’t want to listen to him tell me how to tell time…

God Bless you Harry!

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