Yet Another Wood Pen Gift Story

Can one every have enough hand made wood pens made by friends from wood you have given them? I bet most to all of you never pondered this question.

Cori and I are currently sitting on the deck of the house in Strawberry, our first visit back since a year ago April when I left to live/love in Saskatchewan.

We have enjoyed doing next to nothing but relaxing. When we arrived Wednesday night, on the front deck was a small wooden box with the pen you see in the image for this post. The return address told me where the box came from. I knew it because Howard Rheingold had emailed a few weeks ago that he had finished this pen from a chunk of spalted Arizona Oak I brought him when I visited in December, 2018.

I See The H
I See The H flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

He had explained the reason it took long (sorry for the extra critters that came with the log, Howard). But what a gift to have this in my hand. It’s not even the first one he sent, I still use one he sent me in 2014– if I recall, it was some of my previous pen stories that inspired him to start making them himself (I hope I remember that correctly, Howard!).

This wood mailing thing goes back to 2010, when I had posted to flickr a photo of some wood I had cut up form an oak tree that I had taken down here in Strawberry.

The story plays out in the comments… but an educator I had known mostly through flickr comments as “Windsor Di” was horrified I would burn the wood when she thought they would be great for doing wood projects. So the natural thing was to get in touch… and I mailed a log to Windsor, Ontario. Yes it’s possible to mail a piece of wood. Or it was then.

Anyhow, months later I got in the mail a collection of the wood pens she turned.

Pens flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

There was more to it, as in 2011 when I made my round the US and Across Canada road trip, I made a stop to visit Windsor, and in the back of my truck was a box full of this wood for her (again, I am not sure how it passed the thorough inspection the border agents did in Victoria).

The story played out again in 2013- some messages back and forth with Andy McKiel who had posted photos of Arbutus trees he saw in Vancouver island and had reminded me of the Arizona manzanita. On learning Andy worked too with wood (you should check him out on instagram for his images of the wood bowls he turns)… it happened again. I mailed a chunk of manzanita to Andy in Winnipeg, and eventually got back pens and an ipad stylus.

My brother-in-law Skip picked up the habit too, and so I end up with a collection of Pens From Friends (and stories).

And I guess it keeps going with this newest one from Howard.

I guess I ought to be writing something pen-worthy. It’s on the “list”. But thanks again Howard, what a treat.

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