Deerfoot Friendships… often grow out of Camper, Guide, and Staff relationships, but not always.
Charlie Karner, Paul Davidson, and I met through DL work weekends, and our friendship continues to build. The three of us are within 6 months of being 75, and have shared 50+ work weekends. We are good at working hard, laughing easily, eating well, sharing family and other stories, and singing together the great hymns of the faith during the Breaking of Bread services.
In 1988, Charlie took a week off from his kitchen building business to head up the building of the Hutch Cabin. I had the privilege of working with him. We began the construction of the Hutch Cabin in the rain, and ended our work putting on the roof while it was snowing.
Charlie, Paul, and I worked a week in October, 1994 and in 1995 on the building of the Lane Cabin under the tutelage of B. Allen Mackey whom DL hired from British Columbia, Canada. Being October, we worked from sun up to sun down. We ate wonderful food prepared by my wife, Sally Jo, and Judy Reitz, mother of DL Lone Eagles Scott and Jason. One of our unique experiences was when Allen Mackey’s daughter and her husband came for visit. They are both professional bassoon players and they gave the 15 of us a concert in the Lookout. Picture the log cabin lit with gas lights. The $28,000 instruments were so close we could touch them. Unforgettable!!!
I mentioned in my last IPWG that Charlie had a stroke last June from which he has significantly recovered. Against Charlie’s protest, his wife, Barb, thought it best if she kept him home for the Columbus Day work weekend. This past Wednesday afternoon Paul drove the two hours from his home to ours. We talked through the dinner Sally Jo had prepared, about our children, our current projects, the theological implications of the woman’s decision to legally take her own life, the fact that we would not like out lives to be extended through heroic medical means, and our personal Bible study. We learned of a very special time in Paul’s life when he was the teacher of a one room school near where his wife had grown up on a large ranch. Paul talked a bit about his PhD in Biology, and his work in the NY State Prison system. Sometime during the evening Paul said “It is so good to be with people where I can talk about anything”.
On Thursday we began our three hour drive to Tewksbury, Ma. With classical music playing softly, we were soon into significant conversation – and the music became a distraction. When we arrived at the Karner’s, Charlie was working on his current project in his incredible wood shop. After extensive conversation about tools, Charlie showed us the 24’ 1957 Chris Craft he had perfectly restored. I mean “perfectly restored”. When he took it to a major boat show in 2005, he walked away the “Best of Show”, and all 6 of the other awards. The boat now shows 9 summers of continual use, and of Karner care.
The Karner home exhibits Charlie’s work. He goes to his shop after breakfast, breaks for lunch and a nap…then back to the shop. Try to imagine how much work a skilled craftsman can produce through 30 hour work weeks. We also saw the awesome kitchen/dining room table their furniture building son, Brent, made for them. Good food – more discussion.
At 75, we are all aware that our lives will be over soon, and that is just fine with us. We have enjoyed the Lord’s guidance and provision through these many years. We are confident that God has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. We are all thankful for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ. None of us fear death – and we know this to be true as we have all been near death.
Charlie, Paul and I have lived In Partnership With God,
and we will die In Partnership With God.