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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: Wood Working 101
By Mona Lisa


The glossy pages were as shiny as the day the book was issued; fragrant in newness, right off the printing press, even twenty years later. Kyle Wheeler, nominated ‘Most Likely to Succeed’. His hair likened sandy washed shores and eyes of the Carribean seas, left me daydreaming in wood working class. Now, I’m thankful I wasn’t behind the band saw; I may have seriously injured myself.

The heart pattern I chose for my jewelry box required using a jigsaw. A simple project listed under the beginner’s column which was posted at the time of signing up for the class. Kyle designed a coffee table with an intricate Aztec inlay pattern on the surface and matching carved legs. Our skill level didn’t equate. He was at this all three years of high school and I, the only female student in the class, unexposed to wood, except to admire trees and to write on paper, was an amateur at handling wood working equipment. Nevertheless, we worked within our capacity.

At times my knees wobbled at even thinking about asking him to show me his latest progress. My voice would get scratchy like the sandpaper friction against wood. My fingers flipped the hammer to the wrong end sending the nail head into the straight groove requiring wood filler to mask the gouge. Was I ever going to speak to him? Or fail that class? I should have put my Girl Scout years to use by rubbing two sticks together from the scrap wood bin, created a fire, and headed straight back to Home Economics for a cook off and called that whole thing quits. No, he was the reason I signed up for that class.

It was Friday; the fifth period bell rang in the usual way, taunting my nervous system. I was determined to have a conversation with him. Carla, my high school girlfriend, walked me to wood working class. “What’s to fear? He seems nice enough,” she urged. We settled into our stations. Kyle walked swiftly by my table. My lips crinkled stiffly; somehow my brain lost the translation to smile. Mr. McCormick directed us to gather our materials and return to our work place.

The weekend maintenance crew buffed the speckled tile floor to a glowing sheen. I did my best to walk slowly, as to not leave scuffmarks. I collected my materials from the five tier steel shelf unit at the back of the room. It was there that I took the long way back to my work station.
My left arm nuzzled awkwardly around the can of newly mixed rose petal pink paint, with a can of gloss sealant towered up to my chin. In my left hand, paint brushes dangled with loose brass hinges fumbling through my fingertips. In my right hand were the long awaited smooth sanded pieces of my jewelry box, flaws mysteriously covered by none other than miracle wood filler.

I felt my shoe lace sashaying beneath my sole, than I trampled it. The paint cans somersaulted in the air. Pushing the pause button on a hand held remote control to remain in that frame forever would have been a blessing at that point. The paint cans blustering atop Kyle’s designer coffee table was abrasive to my eardrums. Rose petal pink didn’t compliment the Aztec motif not to mention the clear gloss that melded my face to the hand carved leg. Mr. McCormick rushed to my aid. He gently pried my goopy cheek from what used to be Kyle’s masterpiece. After Kyle absorbed the shock of his fine craftsmanship gone to scrap, he handed me some fresh rags. My mind teetered sorrow or abrupt insanity, which would be first? “I’m sorry, Kyle, please forgive me.” Kyle, under self-control, gently stated, “All is forgiven.” Upon hearing those words, my girly crush morphed to true love. A synapse in my mind fused; a mature perspective on this thing called ‘love’ became agape.

Kyle was a gifted craftsman who certainly succeeded at one solid word of truth; to forgive when asked to be forgiven.

I so often feel like the unskilled in awe of my Maker’s craftsmanship. Thank God for Jesus, because He makes His path approachable to us; whether we trip, stumble, or fall, He leads our steps to stable footing. The graceful blessing from Jesus is to lead us to truth.

At my twenty year high school reunion I met up with Kyle. He designs and builds church podiums in Binghamton, NY.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Powers 02/15/07
A very nice and amusing story. How nice that Kyle was mature enough to forgive you. Nice ending, too. Good job!
Jacquelyn Horne02/16/07
Wonderful story. Good writing. The pov fit in nicely. Forgiven by a carpenter.
Janice Fitzpatrick03/11/07
This is touching and humorous. I really like your descriptions in your writings and the way you teach a lesson through each of your them and your word pictures. I could relate to this one but my accident in a college Stage Desisgn class ended up with a stapler gun going bizerko,grin. Needless to say I stick to manual staplers anymore,hehe. Thank you also for your feedback. God bless your work and keep on writing as you are truly gifted hon.:0)