A Story Comes to My Kitchen

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Water and Oars

Last spring, I read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown for Pierce County Reads. The story wrapped me up, and I couldn’t help but tell my hubby.

I told Phil of the rowers from the University of Washington. I told him about the rower Joe Rantz and the odds he beat after taking care of himself from the age of 15 in rural Sequim, Washington — a place where I once lived.

I told him, also, of the amazing craftsman named George Yeoman Pocock who constructed the shell the team used to win the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Pocock used huge cedar planks to create boats that commanded high prices across the country for the sport that was so popular at that time. 

One day, my husband came home to tell me of what happened to the wood Pocock had but did not use for the shells. His family, apparently, sold it to a carver in B.C.

More recently, one of the Phil’s woodworking customers had bought the cedar from the carver.

“Oh! Do you think I could get a few scraps?” I asked. He often brings me small treats from his customers. A couple in Elma even sent me blueberries from their garden this summer.

My husband told me I must be kidding. With the popularity of Brown’s book, the wood is worth hundreds of dollars per board foot.

Listening to his good sense, I let that little idea die and moved on, tucking that rowing story into the back of my mind. I satisfied myself with my new The Boys in the Boat library card.

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Two things every writer needs: a pen and a gorgeous library card.

Then my birthday happened this last week.

Phil pulled out two bookends and told me his customers had made them for me out of Pocock’s cedar stash.

My husband rocks.

And stories live. One is sitting on my kitchen table now, in fact.

May you find your own stories coming to life.

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