“Oh my – look at that blue sky. Today’s gonna be a GOOD day! Drink coffee do ya?”
“Uh… yeah. That would be great. Thanks.”
I had just sat down to try out the Adirondack Chair in front of a woodworking shop by the Missouri River when a wiry man in his 80’s came around the corner with a steaming mug in each hand.
He handed me one of the mugs and stuck out his right hand. “The name’s Roy. I own this place. Your timing’s good today – I always take my morning coffee about now. Always nice to have a visitor.” He was dressed in traditional brown carpenter overalls. When he shook my hand, I was struck by the strength of his grip. “So what brings ya down to this bend in the river?”
I explained I had taken a long weekend to relax and enjoy the Fall colors. I was strolling along the river when I noticed the chair in front of his shop and decided to have a look.
He smiled. “That’s good. Seems nowadays people your age don’t take enough time to just enjoy bein’ alive. Everybody wants the fancy cars and the big houses, but life passes ’em by while they’re earnin’ that big pile of dough. Nice to see somebody smellin’ the roses!”
We chatted for a time and then sat quietly for awhile, sipping the hot coffee and enjoying the view. A slight breeze shook the gold and orange leaves that still hung in the branches above his workshop. Off in the distance a train whistle blew.
“Hear that whistle? That’s the Kansas City Mule. Runs everyday between St. Louis and Kansas City. Gets here ’bout 10:30 every mornin’. ‘Bout an hour from now, my buddy Jones will stop by and we’ll head to lunch. Yessir it’s gonna be GOOD day because I believe it’s his turn to buy!”
He chuckled to himself, took a final sip of coffee and stood up. “Stay there for a minute young fella – I got somethin’ to give ya.”
I relaxed in the chair. Roy’s dog came out to investigate so I scratched him behind the ears. I noticed the mouthwatering aromas coming from the diner up the hill so I made a mental note to stop there for lunch. Roy returned with a piece of paper in his hand.
“This here sheet tells ya everything ya need to know about that chair you’re sittin’ in – size, type of wood, price… everything. I even box ’em up and ship ’em if that’s what somebody wants. Understand now… I’m not trying to hard sell ya. God willing I’ll be here again tomorrow whether you buy a chair or not.”
Roy turned the sheet over and pointed with a crooked and callused finger. “Here’s what I really want ya to see. Most people don’t get it but I believe you will. Got that feelin’ about ya. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d best get back to work. I’m havin’ a GOOD day in the shop and I wanna keep it rollin’!” Roy shook my hand, patted my shoulder, wished me well… and off he went with a purposeful stride.
Here’s what was written on the back of the sheet…
“This chair was built with love by an old carpenter named Roy. I’ve seen a lot of things in my time, visited a lot of amazing places and met a lot of nice people. I may be old, but I’ve learned a few important things along the way…
- If you can’t appreciate what you have, why do you need more?
- Enjoy the journey just in case the destination changes.
- Every day above ground is a good day!
Most of all, as the owner of this beautiful new chair, take my advice…
Don’t just do something – Sit There!
Sincerely, Roy the Carpenter
© Doug Fish, 2009