Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Aaron, the Carpenter

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I think I have mentioned Aaron's woodwork before, but I have not let on to the full extent of what Aaron was capable of when it came to building things.

Aaron's Mom had her fall open house at her store tonight. I remember going to it last year with Aaron and Aaron Jr. We showed up around the time it started to deliver some furniture to the store. That is where he sold his furniture. He was blessed with such an amazing talent, I wanted to share some photos of just a few of the pieces he made. This doesn't even make a dent in the number of pieces of furniture he ever built.

Aaron built so many pieces of furniture, but there are a few pieces that stick out in my mind as some of my favorites. The red hutch on the left is one of them.

Everything in this photo is stuff he made.

I was always so excited to have a daughter so that Aaron could build her a bed like this.

Another one of my favorite pieces, the black hutch on the right.

More favorites.

These are both on my favorites list. The red piece on the left was always one that I wanted so badly. Everytime Aaron and I would deliver furniture to the store, I would always check to see if it was still there. When it sold, I was so sad. I always planned to have him make me one when we could afford to have him make us one. I hope whoever bought it realizes what a treasure they have. In fact, anyone who ever bought one of Aaron's pieces of furniture now has a treasure. They are all treasures to me.

I don't have a photo of it, but the month that Aaron passed away, he and I delivered a long sofa table to his Mom and Dad's house. She was going to keep that one. As we carried it in, I remember thinking that it was my favorite sofa table that he had ever made. He had another one just like it in the works in his shop. It is still sitting in his shop... unfinished... in the same spot that he had it.

The month that Aaron Jr. was born, Aaron made two coffee tables. He brought them both in the house and he wanted us to use them for a little while and then I was supposed to decide which one I liked better and we would keep that one and sell the other one. This square one above is the one that we decided to sell, so you can imagine how amazing the other one was. It is in our living room. It is a round coffee table that is one of the most amazing pieces in my opinion. It looks plain enough, but Aaron put so much work into it. He rounded the wood and everything. I love it.

Both favorites. The green piece on the left is one of the few pieces that I helped with. Aaron was in a bind one night and had several large pieces that needed to be done that night. So, I went out and offered my assistance. Aaron usually didn't take me up on my offer, but this time, he did. So, the black part of the hutch, I painted that. It is a very small portion of the piece, but everytime I saw that piece from then on, I always felt a little more of a connection to it because I helped with it.

I wish I had a photo of Aaron with more of his pieces of furniture, but I don't. Believe it or not, even though I am obsessed with taking photos, THIS is the ONLY photo I ever took of Aaron with one of his pieces of furniture. The reason for it is because he and I always planned to make a catalog of all of his pieces, so of course we needed the furniture to be alone in the photo. This time, I happened to just insist on taking a photo of him with this piece when we delivered it. We took photos of pretty much EVERYTHING he ever built.

These photos only show the tiniest portion of furniture that Aaron built. His friend, Rob, used to help him with the business until he and his family left for dental school. In his career building furniture, Aaron built hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pieces. They were all amazing. He always took such great care to make sure everything was perfect before delivering any piece of furniture.

I always loved delivering the furniture with him. Once his friend moved away, it was me that helped Aaron load the furniture into the truck and then helped him unload it. There were times when I would look at a piece of furniture and think in my mind, 'there is NO way I am going to be able to carry that.' I usually wouldn't say it out loud. I always wanted to prove that I could do whatever he needed me to do. Sometimes, my hand would feel like it was about to fall off and I didn't think I could go one more step, but I would push through it so that Aaron didn't have to do it alone. I LOVED helping him with it, it meant we got to spend more time together when I could help him get things done.

Aaron worked exhausting hours when he worked on furniture. He would set a deadline for himself and if he wasn't done, he would stay up ALL night long to get it done. I usually tried to stay up waiting for him. I know he got tired of my phone calls to his cell phone out in the shop when I would ask AGAIN when he might be coming in. He always tried to get me to go to sleep, but it was so hard going to sleep when I was so worried about him getting injured on any of the power tools. I couldn't sleep restfully until he was beside me.

This is one reason it is so hard for me to go to bed at a decent hour now. I would wait up for him no matter what. I couldn't rest peacefully unless he was next to me, so I would wait up so that I could sleep better knowing he was safe and getting some rest. Now that he is gone, it is just so hard going to sleep until I am completely exhausted. Even now, 9 months later... the hours that I go to bed are shocking, even to me. It isn't on purpose though...

Building furniture was a talent of Aaron's, but it was also his career for most of our marriage. It was hard for him at times. He worked alone and it was hard on his body. I can't express in words how grateful I am to him for all that he did for our family. Many days, I would deliver his lunch out to the shop because he wanted to just keep working. Lucky for us, he usually took the time to come in for dinner. There were even many nights when I would take Aaron Jr. out to the shop to kiss Daddy good night because Aaron would still be working in the shop. Aaron Jr. loved going out to Daddy's shop and still loves going out there with me. He remembers his Daddy being there.

Here is a memory that is so precious to me.
The kitchen window where I do dishes is straight across from the windows of the shop. At night, when Aaron would be out working, the lights in the shop would be on and I would be able to watch him work from the kitchen window. I can't even express to you how much I enjoyed being able to watch him without him knowing. He never knew. We never made eye contact when I would watch him, he would be concentrating so hard on what he was doing. I loved watching him. Now, when I am in the kitchen and I look out that window, I feel an emptiness. He is not there. I would give anything to look out that window and see him in his shop.

Aaron's wood shop is still pretty much how he left it. There is a special order hutch that he was working on even the day before he passed away. The first time I went into the shop after he died, it was the most difficult place for me to be. I couldn't hold back the emotions. I took one look at that unfinished hutch and I just lost it. It is still sitting there, unfinished, in the same spot. There are several unfinished pieces of furniture in the shop still. The shop is now the place I go to in order to feel the closest to Aaron. Besides the house, it is the place where he spent most of his time when he was here. I love going out and just looking around and sitting in his chair out there. There is so much of Aaron there, I can't go in the shop without a flood of tears. I feel him there... every time.

With all of my heart... I love you, Aaron...

* * *
Some of you have asked where his Mom's store is. It is called Secret Haven and it is in Fruit Heights, UT. There are still some pieces in her store, but they are no longer for sale. Now that Aaron is gone, we are holding on to everything that is left with everything we've got. It is a great store though. SO many memories of delivering furniture with Aaron there.


Clippy Mat said...

Aaron was a great husband and a talented guy. His woodworking skills were amazing and the things he has made are beautiful.
How wonderful to think that so many things he created live on as his legacy. Obviously he put his heart into the things he created in his shop and that is why you feel him there with you.
You were a marvelous wife. He was blessed to have you.
You honour his memory.
Also honour yourself by knowing you made him happy and content; that's so apparent.
God Bless.

LL said...

WOW!!! I'm amazed by his talent, you must be so proud of him.

Anonymous said...

I guess when you said furniture I did not understand how nice it was!! Does his mom still have stuff in her store? He was very talented. I am glad that you have as many good memories as you do with him.
Families are forever!!!

Helen said...

Wow. I love his furniture. I have done a little wood working, so I know how much skill and hard work it takes. What a gift.

Leslie said...

I am AMAZED at his skill!! WoW!!! Where is his moms shop? Id love to go see those pieces in person.

One of the lines you wrote...stuck out to me. It could have two meanings...

"'there is NO way I am going to be able to carry that.' I usually wouldn't say it out loud. I always wanted to prove that I could do whatever he needed me to do. "

I think this really pertains to what you are going through now, without Aaron.

Leslie said...

Ok now looking back....are these things at Rod Works?

Valeri said...

Wow! Those are incredible! And I love the country style. It's one of my favorites. Neil LOVES wood working too, and if he could afford to do it for a living he would in a heartbeat. We are holding out a new bedroom set until he has to time (and money) to do it himself. He and Aaron would have had a lot of fun together making furniture.

Jennifer Bowman said...

WOW these are all so amazing. What a wonderful talent...perhaps it will be passed onto your son.
Where is his parents shop? I also would love to go there!

k.m.b. said...

WOW! They all look like they are straight out of pottery barn! So incredible!! Where is your mom's shop??

Mindy said...

I love love love so many of those pieces, that I can't even pick a favorite. Brandon builds furniture, but of course not at that professional level! I totally know what you mean about worrying about the power tools and such! I'm going to show this post to him, and see if I can get him to make me similar pieces! I am so glad that you still have some of the furniture he made! I know those will be treasures forever, through generations.

Leslie, I hope the sleeping alone part gets better soon! I love you!

Kristi said...

I have always LOVED Aaron's furniture. In my fantasies, as soon as we got a home and were able to afford to get "nice" things, I was going to have him make so many things for us. I always knew he was so busy and so generous that it would be uncomfortable for me to ask with us being family. I knew he would have under quoted us.
I hope you still have some of his plans so Spencer can one day make me something..you know, for our 50th anniversary or something :).

Seesalou said...

i am amazed by the things aaron was able to visualize and then create. he had a gift that is for sure. i can't tell you how much it means to us that we had him make us a few things. they are treasured. when john & i think or talk about things he needs to build or fix or whatever, i always think of aaron and how he always offered to help john. my bookshelf that he & john made together means so much. as always, our prayers are with you.

Joann said...

It still amazes me how talented he was. I feel SO blessed to have a couple of things he built for us (the black mirror that he had to fix because I stepped on it, and that HUGE magnet board!). I loved being in your house and marvelling at the beautiful bookcases and tables and shelves. The big green one that hold all of Aaron Jr.'s toys now is my very favorite. I am glad that you kept the big round coffee table, that is one of my favorites, too. Love you, Les!

JuLene said...

I have been to Seceret Haven, and I always admired the beautiful hutches and other furniture. I had no idea that Aaron built them. He was very talented!!! This world is truly at a loss with out him. You are so amazing your strength and courage is a wonderful example to all of us that read your blog. Every time I read your blog it makes me want to try a little harder and be a little better, to make every moment count. My heart and prayers go out to you and your little one.

with love,

Sarah said...

These are SO beautiful! What a talented man he was! I was happy to read that you were keeping several of the pieces he made. What a precious treasure for him to leave behind for you and your family.

Funky Farmers said...

Les- Just wanted you to know that my sister bought one of Aarons pieces. It is a small black entry table that I absolutley love. I remember asking her where she got it and when she told me I told her how lucky she was to have something made from him. He truly was amazing. What a great talent to have. See you tomorrow. D

The Heiners said...

I enjoy learning new things about you and your cute family. I knew of Aaron's talents in woodworking, but not nearly to the extent of his 'craftsmanship'! All I can say is wow. He has amazing talent. I am so grateful that you are keeping tabs on all his pieces now.
I just had 'trivial' hit me. I've had a cold the last couple of days and was struggling at being a Mom to my 1 yr. old. Then, I come to your blog, and can't believe how silly I feel. You are so strong and I continue to gain strength from you. Thanks, Leslie. I can't wait to go visit your mom's store and see Aaron's beautiful furniture in person. Mason and I will take a field trip.
So much love and gratitude,

dani said...

aaron's furniture is absolutely gorgeous!!! i love, love, love the bed:)
do you think you could learn to wood-work??? i know a local woman who is a woodcrafter; and kellan over at "on the upside" is one as well.
it would be so awesome if you could learn and pass the art on to aaron jr!!!
i hope you are having a blessed day, sweetheart:)

Tabitha said...

Beautiful furniture and such beautiful memories.
Sending you love and hugs XXXX

Anonymous said...

He was so talented! What beautiful furniture, Leslie. So many memories in each piece.

Love to you and little Aaron,


Emma-Kate Castricum said...


What wouldn't any of your blog readers do to allow you to look out your kitchen window and watch Aaron working again.

You were such a wonderful wife to your so very telented husband. He's life was so blessed to have you in it with him.

much love,