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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

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Made With Love

The female member of the dynamic duo we visited last night is a pie magician. I've had tastes of winning pies at the county fair and pie at four-star restaurants, and our friend puts them all in some distant second place spot.

She makes pies out of almost anything. Until Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" I had never heard of rhubarb pie, and even with his near-worshipful description, I simply couldn't imagine anything that sounded more awful. But our pie magician friend made one, and it was amazing. Now I understand.

But a good pie is not simply the sum of its ingredients, no matter how carefully those ingredients are measured or the recipe followed. Marie on "Everybody Loves Raymond" once said her food was "made with love." And I understand that, too.

I can follow a recipe with precision, but it still won't be great pie. But I can make things from wood. And the things that are "made with love" turn out far better than the things that are not. Not so long ago I made a freestanding entertainment center… with love. It was a gift for someone very special, and while it took much longer than it should, it was exceptional. Okay, that sounds egotistical, but remember, "exceptional" is a comparative adjective. Exceptional compared to what I usually make is what I mean, not necessarily exceptional by exceptional woodworkers' standards.

Make what you make with love and make it exceptional… by your own standards.

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Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).

Steven can be reached directly via email at downtoearthwoodworks@me.com .

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