My Dad worked in a factory for over forty years. One of five brothers, he loved basketball and being outdoors. During WWII he served stateside as an Army X-ray technician, one of the guys who set up and operated the X-ray machine.

After the war he went to work in a local factory that made automotive gears. He worked various jobs and machines until being promoted to second shift supervisor and finally running the tool cage (where the precision instruments for setting up the machines were located) before retiring.

He loved a good joke and could kid with the best of them but he was also a quiet man who would work slowly and methodically. He enjoyed woodworking and what I remember most is how patient he was with sanding. Dad would spend hours that stretched into days sanding a project to a fine finish. It relaxed him.

We all have mentors who influence our work in ways we don’t always appreciate. I have some of Dad’s tools at my bench and think of his quiet, methodical work style when, for God only knows why; I’m rushing through a project.

I think back to the magazine articles by Jack Work or Paul Larson that I read over and over as a kid. Modeling like theirs was beyond me then but I was inspired none-the-less and dreamed of the day when my work might be as good. The funny thing about those articles is that I don’t recall the specifics of how they did something, but how they made me feel like I could do the work too.

Modeling today is different because I’m a different person; more self-aware and comfortable with the skills I’ve gained from many experiences in life. I still draw on the examples of other modelers whose works I admire and respect, who don’t realize they’ve had an impact on my own work. Maybe I should write a few emails and tell them about it. Maybe we all could do that while we still can.

Mike