Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.
Thursday, Feb 1
I am not a writer. I am an artist and a traveler and an observer who puts things to pen. Beats watching TV for the most part. I see much humor in daily life, even in seemingly mundane moments. My grandfather Hugh once told me, “Michael my boy, try not to take life too seriously. There are a lot of funny things going on and you don’t want to miss them.” I was maybe seven years old at the time, over seventy years ago. My lifelong experience has certainly stood as an endorsement for that advise.
I may come across at times as not taking life seriously. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am, to the extent my intellect and experience allow it, a realist. And (not but) the nature of my life and occupation defines the path as a series of ongoing vignettes. I am ever thankful for the fruit in this truth.
One day in the early fifties, at a time when my family was living with Hugh and his wife Edna in Los Angeles, I had left my wagon in the driveway of their home from whence it had rolled out onto West Boulevard and was crushed by a passing truck. My spirit was collaterally crushed. Hugh knew this as I sat in front of the massive roll topped desk in his office. His loving and powerful words set the tone for my view of life from that day forward. They are yet indelible in my memory.
He said, “Michael I’m understanding your wagon has had a bad day.” Through my sobs I confirmed his comment. He waited for a break in the crying and told me an, I now realize, indisputable truth. He said, “Well let me tell you something son and I want you to remember this. You are not your wagon.”
The road I travel, personally and as a businessman, is cluttered with hazards and potholes. I have blown motors while out on road trips. Some of my motors have had horrible days. But I am not my motor. Sometimes my art festival is rained out. On those instances my money has had a bad day. But I am not my money. I am me - Michael.
There is much to be grateful for in life. There are a lot of funny things going on. Let us not miss them. Let us not be our wagons.