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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Whittling

When’s the last time you saw anybody whittling? You know, sitting in a rocking chair, passing the day by whittling a piece of wood.

Dad loved to whittle.

He’d pull out his pocketknife and sit outside for hours getting after it. Shavings would pile at his feet while a transformation of the wood and his state of mind took place.

I loved to watch his strong hands maneuver the blade, first knocking out the large chunks before fine tuning what remained into something special.

As a kid, that strength I felt while he whittled brought me warmth and security. As an adult, sitting with him while he whittled opened the door to easy conversations that brought wisdom and friendship.

Dad mostly carved ducks. He’d long studied the way they held their heads and their forms in the water. Those duck hunter’s insights brought the necessary little touches to his works.

He carved crosses for my mother, too. Some were elaborate, others were simple. She loved them.

Dad’s TrophyToday, the lone carving I have of his is the batting trophy he created and unexpectedly awarded me in 1973.

Dad’s unique work is more than a carving and lives as a lasting treasure.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography