When I returned from my journey to the British Isles, I pulled something special from my suitcase to give to Jerry…
The special item came from an antique shop in Llangollen, Wales. I had stepped inside the shop because I hoped to find a butler’s bell, such as the kind featured in Downton Abbey. No butler bells availed themselves, but lots of vintage tools did. I remembered that Jerry loves old tools and knew he wouldn’t appreciate a trinket souvenir, (like a coin bank in the shape of a British mailbox~I bought that for myself.) I knew he’d love one of the shop’s vintage woodworking planes lined up on a table. I picked up a few of the planes and they weighed as much as a car (a small car like a Mini Cooper because if they weighed as much as an Audi A4 I wouldn’t be able to lift it.)
I knew I needed a small plane that would fit lightly in my suitcase. The shop owner brought out a blue metal wood plane he kept in the back room. I liked its metal press stamping, stating “Made in England.” In addition, it came with the original box, so aged and worn it looked like it came from the same time period wheels were invented.
…I handed Jerry my souvenir gift. Jerry unwrapped the brown paper revealing the wood plane. He seemed more pleased than I had anticipated. He said, “Wow! This is nice. Thank you.” Then he threw his arms around me and swung me around the room.
…ahem…okay, I made up the part about swinging me around the room. The rest is completely accurate. Sometimes I get carried away, so forgive the embellishment.
After expressing. “Wow! This is nice,” Jerry sat at his computer to look up more information on the plane.
In his research, Jerry gained a thorough knowledge of the plane I gave him and of many other antique planes. After a day or two of reading about planes, Jerry knew how to look for the rare, collectible ones.
“Just for fun,” he said to me, “Let’s go to some antique shops and see if we can find some old wood planes.”
At the antique mall, Jerry found several old planes. “I swooped them,” he said to me, smiling as he showed me his new purchases.
At home, Jerry restored and repaired the old planes. He then listed the wood planes on eBay at a price more than he paid. One sold immediately. Seeing the possibilities of profit, Jerry began bidding on other planes so he could restore and resell. Packages containing wood planes came in the mail in a steady stream.
Whenever a plane sold, Jerry announced, “I sold [such-and-such] plane,” with the same enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who won the lottery (and to Jerry there was very little difference).
While buying and selling wood planes, Jerry recognized the investment of keeping the very rare 1800s wood planes. He built a beautiful shelf to display his unique collection. He also realized the old tools have a use, which led to collecting mesquite logs from the desert, sawing them into boards, and planing them for future wood projects. The mesquite boards led to a desire to carve and a whole unique new area of interest took hold.
It occurs to me that my one decision to buy a wood plane for Jerry during my trip to the U.K. opened a new door of discovery that I never considered. It even opened a new door for me as I had to have the early 1900s oval oak library table that I found while we shopped planes at the antique mall.
One of the things I admire about Jerry is that he’s always learning new things. He’s always trying something new, which takes courage because trying new things forces you to face the possibility of failure. But it’s a risk worth taking for all the knowledge and experience gained no matter the outcome. And I don’t think Jerry concerns himself with failure. He has told me on several occasions, “You only fail if you don’t try.”
The best reason for trying something new is for the possibility of adding enjoyment and enrichment to your life. And that’s something we all could use.
So I encourage you, if you haven’t tried anything new lately, to go for it. Once you try, it will force you to grow by learning a new skill, or a new way of thinking, or discovering a new passion. It will break you out of your daily routine.
Now…with all that said, may Jerry and I be so bold as to entice you with some very nice woodworking planes we have for sale. You might want to start there.