On a trip to the Oregon coast this past summer, when Ben was 16, we enjoyed a spontaneous stop at The Myrtlewood Gallery in Reedsport. It’s part gift shop, part wood shop, and Ben thought they might have some good tonewood lumber there for building guitar bodies. They did. The selection was amazing, and he loved looking at all the different tonewoods, both hard and soft, to consider their potential uses. We stayed there for at least an hour so he could explore the store and all the woods available. There was so much to choose from that we decided to come back the next day so he wouldn’t have to rush his decisions. It was definitely worth another trip in order to have enough time to find just the right pieces for several future guitars.
While exploring the gallery, I watched Ben envision many exciting uses for the different woods he was finding. He was trying to decide which were the very best pieces and how many he wanted to afford for various projects. We both knew these were good quality woods and prices he wouldn’t be able to find at home. I loved hearing him think out loud about all his choices, and I knew that any of these pieces would give him weeks and months of interesting projects to work on.
Ben didn’t have money with him that first day, but I did. I also told him I was happy to get a little more from a nearby cash machine in case we needed it the next day. At home, he has a savings account with his own money saved for future projects, and he’s quite mindful about how he spends it. He’s always willing to use his own money when something is important to him.
While Ben was contemplating all his options, I let him know that I wanted to buy at least one of the especially pretty pieces for him because I recognized what a great opportunity it was. I wanted to help him with this purchase so he’d have enough money of his own to buy at least a couple more pieces which would allow him many different types of guitar-building projects when we got home.
In the end, Ben found some beautiful pieces of tonewoods for himself and picked out a couple more for his dad as well. I got the benefit of spending time with him and helping him pursue something he loved. We enjoyed good conversations and the excitement that comes with planning new projects. It was definitely time and money well spent.