Winter settled in at Cherry Pond Fine Furniture located in the heart of the very White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire with sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice, dark mornings and dark afternoons. I love the word “settled”. Meteorologists use it often to describe the arctic air masses that descend from Canada: “an arctic high has settled in the region”, I heard yet again on the car radio. “Settled” means it’s not going anywhere soon; like the ne’er-do-well relative who shows up at your front door with a duffle bag and a Rottweiler. Lovely. In my humble opinion, Canadian arctic air masses should respect the border. I am certain there are multitudes who find joy in this season.
I had occasion to drop by the famous Mount Washington resort recently to meet up with my daughter who works there. As I drove up the long winding entrance, I witnessed a musher driving his team across the snow covered golf course, a group of cross- country skiers bursting out of the woods like Olympic racers, a couple power walking up the drive, and a brave soul on a bicycle. Across the street skiers and snowboarders enjoyed the trails. It was a balmy one degree Fahrenheit. I’m not a fan. I blasted the heat as I drove up to the hotel.
I’m sure Matt Smith; our Chief Engineer/IT specialist is on the same page. His mind must be dwelling on families gathered, huddling by the blazing fire in the fireplace or the warmth of the wood stove, because he’s created some wonderful pieces lately. These include cribbage boards and mancala boards in assorted sizes made from cherry, maple, and black walnut, and for those who prefer more solitary distractions, wonderful little IQ testers that can keep you captivated for a long time – unless you’re a genius of course. The large cribbage boards are not for the faint-hearted. There’s no slipping past a few holes without your opponent noticing on these “bad boys”. They are created for the die-hard, nothing is better than playing cribbage, cribbage player. Once you purchase the board, all you need is the card table. We actually had a customer from Texas order four of them. They were the usual size and shape of the metal version, only made out of cherry, finished with black lacquer, and were complete with folding legs just like the original. They looked amazing. I remember our customer thought so too.
The shop is warm enough, though Peter passes through often with a propane torch in one hand and wrenches in the other. When the arctic high “settles” in, something is always freezing up, including Bill Langevin, our lead assembler. He moved here from Florida where he had worked as a master shipwright for seventeen years. He helped to restore sixteen of the only ninety Trumpy yachts still in existence. One of the most famous of these was the Sequoia, commissioned by the Navy as the official presidential yacht. I call him the Yoda of master craftsmen, though it’s difficult to recognize him in the winter because he dresses like an Eskimo on a whale hunt. It’s his Florida blood.
The good news is (especially for Bill) that January has faded into February, and we’re that much closer to spring. February is a special month. It’s chock full of deep freezes, piles of snow, tax returns, Valentines, and definitely that time of year when we desperately want to throttle the Groundhog. But at least it’s short.