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Playin' hooky

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I should have written this last night, but didn't because I got home late after a day of playing hooky.

For those of you too young to know the term, back in the days when we had to walk several miles to school, sometimes we just didn't want to go. So we'd grab our fishing poles and head to the local pond or creek and go fishing instead. Hence the origin of the phrase: playing instead of working, using fishhooks, thus, 'playing hooky.' We couldn't bring the fish home, of course, or our parents would know we didn't go to school. The next day at school we'd simply say that one of the cows was dropping a calf or something, and we were needed on the farm.

None of this is true, of course. I never played hooky as a kid, never went fishing by myself, and never lived on a farm. It's just a literary illustration to help define terms. We writers can do that.

Anyway, yesterday was the Mother Of All Mondays, and I just didn't feel like working. That's it, plain and simple. Plenty to do, just no will to do any of it. So on the pretense of needing to buy some reproduction cut nails (which wasn't really a pretense, as I did need them), I hopped in the car and headed up to north-central Ohio to the heart of Amish country. There's a great store there called Lehman's that's as close to stepping back into the 19th century as you'll get. Because of the high Amish population, inside the store you can get all manner of brand-new old stuff - including cut nails and every hand tool you can imagine - and outside the store you'll see as many horse-drawn carriages as minivans in the parking lot.

I got my nails, looked around for a while, and then decided to just drive the countryside and look at furniture. This part of Ohio is all farming country, with roads laid out mostly on one-mile grids. Travel in any direction at all and each time you come to a crossroads there will be half a dozen signs for Amish furniture shops. There are hundreds and hundreds of them, and I checked out quite a few.

So even when playing hooky I still made it a woodworking day - bought some supplies, played with tools, examined lots of furniture, smelled lots of sawdust and, more importantly, got a much-needed recharge.

While I still don't feel much like working today, I find that I'm enjoying it a lot more than yesterday. The best part is that as soon as I finish this I'm heading out into the shop to use those cut nails.

Till next time,



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