(excerpted from the Laurel Leader)
by Larry L. Smith 1992
Late in 1977, my father pursued a hobby because a back injury forced him to retire from truck-driving. He prayed for a hobby that was original, something no one else was doing.
In the spring of 1978 the “know-how” of wood bending was born in his mind.
He is quoted as saying; “I really feel this is God-given.”
Thus, he became as we know it, “The World’s Only Woodbender.”
Every “tree-ation” has a story behind it. Like the piece he called, “Wilbur,
Will It Fly?”, which was bird-shaped and ready to soar from its wooden base.
Or consider, “Split Personality” he described it as being the ugliest thing he has seen. (Oh! He was just learning on that one.)
Also, “First Time Jogger” is unique because my father said upon commenting on its shape; “That’s how he must feel.” You can imagine what it looked like.
Daddy would not reveal his secret for bending the wood. As far as I know, there may be only one person that knows how he did it. That is, his wife.
She helped him with staining and painting. and advised him on shapes and colors.
Some of the goals my father had were, “to shape a 20-foot maple tree on the front lawn of a house.” Another was, “to strip a large tree of its bark and paint it, so it will glow in the dark.”
His primary goal was to start a business selling his “tree-ations, ” He said, “I’m either a damned fool or a genius.” And for those that knew him, he was a genius. Wouldn’t you agree?