I don't know if you've ever heard it, but winning the lottery is bad news for you! That's right! Many people have had their lives RUINED by an excess of wealth! No fear of that happening here, my life, at least by those standards is completely safe. I have successfully eluded wealth and even security Not that I couldn't appreciate a little of that every now and again, I'm sure you've noticed life is expensive these days.
I am not saying I'm not enjoying the lutherie business. Currently I am finishing an electric violin that I designed and will shortly put into the hands of my partner, and most insightful critic, Louise. I am also in the process of "making over" a very pretty Chinese violin into a left handed instrument. Why? Well beyond the hope that this unorthodox position would guarantee a player first chair (unlikely), it would open possibilities to lefties like me who were forced to adapt to this right hand world. Yeah, I love the quirky things I'm working on!
Well it was hardly a surprise recently when my mother asked me how my violin business was going and I told her I wasn't really very busy, she commented, "Yeah, I didn't really think that would amount to much." At least I'm not disappointing my mom! But you know, it's cool work, and when it's comes together, very satisfying!
My working career has been quite varied in a connected sort of way, all the good stuff was mechanical, that is, hand work. But, so far I have been able to elude overwhelming success! No fear of my life being ruined by wealth! From teaching to auto mechanics, to camera repair, to violin repair it has all been an interesting journey, and with the exception of teaching, enjoyable. For a few years, recently, I spent time as a painter and restorer at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. That wasn't an great fit. It wasn't so much the fit, as the non-fit. As a self-employed person for the past 35 years I had difficulty grasping the concept of being non-productive and wasting time. This was, after all, a Federal job and needed to be treated with the proper non-productive respect! I think my most memorable experience occurred in my last season.
A bone of sorts was thrown to St. Timothy's Roman Catholic Church in the form of painting. Usually this sort of work was performed at St. Ann's, the Episcopal Church, where the Roosevelts worshiped when they were on the Island. It was pointed out, however that many of the servants were RC and worshiped at St. Tim's. A gallon of primer and green paint were put in my hands and I was directed to go and paint the wheelchair ramp and front door of the church. To my knowledge there were just the two churches on the high road: St. Ann's Episcopal, and the church next door to it. St. Tim's right? It certainly needed paint! By morning break I had managed to finish the priming but commented to my boss that the green wasn't even close to the color on the church. I pointed out to him that the church's green was a real "poison green", a true Victorian color and not the somber evergreen shade he'd given me. He seemed puzzled, but told me to go over to Lubec and get the color I needed and charge it to St. Tim's.
Over to Lubec, through customs I traveled and managed to get the first coat of green on by lunch. It didn't cover very well and would definitely need another coat on that high arched door. It wasn't until I was returning to the Park that Friday afternoon break that I noticed the sign set low off the shoulder pointing up the side road and proclaiming "St. Timothy's Roman Catholic Church". I must admit my heart lurched a bit and then sunk as I turned up that street and discovered that there was indeed a Roman Catholic Church there, very much in need of paint.
I did get the job done, although it took me another day. The building I painted? That was St. Ann's Fellowship Hall, possibly the old church. With my being "from away", nobody was surprised by what I did, but they were highly amused and promised it would be remembered in Park folklore. It was actually pretty funny and I have no problem laughing at myself, but this I thought was just as funny: The following Monday I was painting the right church and my painting partner, 74 year old Louris from Lubec, came looking for me. "Where was you?" he asked. I told him I was down painting St. Tim's. "No you wasn't!" he replied. "I needed something out of the paint truck and I went to both churches on the high road. You wasn't there!" Louris, let me tell you where St. Tim's is!!