One of the last things we did together was hang a big picture window in a room I was remodeling.
When he accidentally stuck his hands in the caulk, and then got handprints all over the glass, we looked like a couple of maniacs, arguing over what a mess he had made on the window.
Six months later, he passed away.
I never could bring myself to clean his handprints off of that window. I just couldn't. Jimmy and I were very much alike, even though I never wanted to admit it when I was younger. (Everyone called him Jimmy, including me.)
This past Memorial day, when most people were off picnicking and enjoying the start of summer, I was starting a commission in my studio. A very sweet couple had stopped by a few weeks earlier, and spoken to me about building a military flag box for the family of an old Navy friend of theirs who had passed away.
Since my dad was in the Navy; I took more than a personal interest in this project. Here's Jimmy in one of the only pictures I have of him in uniform.
Before I started building the flag case, I called the widow, and spoke with her several times, discussing it's design and some various details. I'd never built a flag case before, so I hopped on the computer and did the research.
Did you know there are two types of flags - mission flags and casket flags? When I learned about the different sizes, I made a call to the frame shop at the local air force base and got the precise dimensions for each folded flag. The angles are a little tricky, but once I got the saw set up, cutting the parts was relatively easy. The Wixey digital cube really helps out in setting the sawblade to precise angles.
Here is a picture of the case I recently finished, ironically, just after the Fourth of July. Taking a picture of it was a little difficult, as the front kept reflecting things in the glass. So even though the image is a little grainy, I think it shows the love that I put into building this. It's a fitting tribute for such a fine man.
Here is another a fitting tribute for such a fine man - my dad.
My mom commissioned this bronze sculpture from a local artist - a man and a woman in a perpetual circle of love. What a lovely piece to mount on top of their mausoleum.
If this blogpost sounds somber, I don't mean it to be. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to build this flag case for the family. Honored, in fact. Now I'm going to start a case for Jimmy's flag.
I may even put my handprint on the glass for him.