Farewell to Amana

Today started out much like yesterday (rainy, cold, and windy), but that didn't stop the crowds from gathering outside the Festhalle Barn quite early to await Roy Underhill's presentation. Once the doors opened, the atmosphere was electric and excited. And damp.

As I started in to find a place to listen, I received a text from Joshua announcing the birth of their third son, Wyeth Day! What awesome news to receive. Everyone agreed: even though we missed Joshua at Handworks, we were extremely glad he wasn't here! Congrats, Klein family!

The talk was wonderful and hilarious, as usual. I can't think of a more amicable presence than Roy. He really does light up a room.

The day flowed by, filled with wonderful encounters with folks I've only "met" through social media. I found myself asking several times for Instagram names so I could associate a face and "real" name with a familiar person. Time and time again I was encouraged and humbled by the positive and enthusiastic support from readers of the magazine. Folks from all over sought us out to let us know how much they have gotten out of M&T, and how much it has inspired them in their creative pursuits. That is exactly what we love to hear, and it's why we do what we do. Thank you, everybody. Really.

Roy came by again to hang out for a bit, to sing some "lusty working songs" with my kiddos as they did a serious bit of chamfering on a piece of pine, and to take a look at my Underhill hatchet. No relation whatsoever...

It was great to spend a big chunk of the day hanging out with Jim McConnell in the booth. We've done all of our correspondence for "magazine stuff" virtually, and it's been a real pleasure to meet him in person and catch up with normal life things. We also found some ridiculously similar parallels in our lives and backgrounds, including living just a few miles apart in our younger years and sharing weird German family traditions. Hooray for fasnachts!

With feelings of satisfaction, exhaustion, and introspection, we began the process of packing up and prepping the load for the 1,700-mile return drive to Maine. Everything was packed up, bundled up, lashed down, and otherwise secured for the journey.

I hope to have some more photos of Handworks 2017 up in a few days. We had a wonderful time, and will be counting down the days until the next gathering in Amana!

~Mike Updegraff


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