(C) How it all started


002In 1988, I was asked to be the dean for a week of Wilderness camp002a at Woodland Lakes Christian Camp in Amelia, Ohio.  In Wilderness Camp people sleep in tents, cook all meals over the campfire, do a lot of hiking, swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, basically any kind of outdoor activity.  With all the hiking we did, I thought, I need a good walking stick.  So I picked up a stick off the ground and used it for hiking.  Well, as the week went on, I tried carving in the stick.  Using my old pocket knife, I carved the name of the camp, the dates of the camp, as well as everyone’s name who came that week.  (pictured to the left)

If I could do that with an old knife and an old piece of wood off the ground, I wondered what I could do if I started out with a really sharp knife and a nice piece of wood.  Off to the hardware store I went.  I bought an X-acto knife and a three-foot dowel rod.

It took me several months, but I carved a stick with a variety of designs.  It started out with a little guy on top.  He is funny looking and has “89” on his shirt because that is the year I carved him.  The kids from my church said I put “89” on his shirt because that is what I will look like when I am 89 years old.  Some of the other designs I carved on the stick were checkers, baskets, rings, bricks and my name. (pictured to the right)

I showed it to everyone, especially the people at my church.  A very close friend of mine looked at it, and all he could say was, “What are you going to do with it?”  I couldn’t believe it, no compliment, nothing but “What are you going to do with it?”  I answered, “When I turn 89 and I look like the funny man on top, I will use it to walk with.”  But I was thinking, When I turn 89, I will use it to hit you over the head.  Well, that was the motivation I needed.  I decided to carve something I could use for a real purpose, as a teaching tool.  Soon after that, I carved my first Bible Stick.

(click on photos to enlarge)