29 Nov 2014

I think Thanksgiving is the best holiday.  It sometimes gets lost between the goofy, spookiness  of Halloween (which I have to admit I love) and the wide open commercial ouroboros that Christmas has become.  I’m not much of a shopper, although I frequent Lowes or Home Depot multiple times a week.  I have thus derived the theory that you just can’t inflate a 10 foot turkey and stick it out in the yard the way you can a black cat or a santa-on-a-motorcycle.  There’s no revenue in bales of hay or ears of dried corn, so Thanksgiving is like the opening act to Christmas; the sideshow that is part of the cover price, and is going to happen regardless of whether any fans showed up specifically for it.  But for me, the Savory outshines the Sweet.

That’s why it is the best holiday.  In the hours that lead up to the starter’s pistol of Black Friday, and the mayhem that will ensue for the remainder of the year,  we gather around the table with family and friends to celebrate a Feast of Gratitude.  It is  purely non-denominational, and without religious, political, or social propriety.  At the core of all of our holidays are sentiments of Devotion to Deity and/or Devotion to Country.  Although the myth of the First Thanksgiving pales under harsh light, this humble Holy Day of hearth and home serves up a hearty helping of both.  And so we should be thankful for Thanksgiving itself.

It reminds us before our last lunar lap to reflect back on the year and consciously experience Gratitude for the year’s blessings.  It pulls our everyday self-consumed selves aside and reminds us that, for better or for worse, Santa is watching.

2014 has been one of the more significant years of my life.  First among blessings, was the safe and healthy arrival of my son Lisle Michael McAulay on March 16th, and all of the joy and challenges he has added to Susanne and I’s lives.  Part and parcel to his arrival, are the opportunities for growth and connection that my wife Susanne and I have undergone as partners and as parents, and that of all of our friends and family that have supported us and loved us always, and especially since March.  Someone described early parenthood to me as “learning a whole new emotion.”  I can’t think of any better way to describe it.

With Parenthood, comes new considerations for how to prioritize one’s life.  Between the time that parenting takes, and the time I want to spend on it, and the fact that going to work to bring home the proverbial bacon becomes an entirely different kind of responsibility than before, it is no wonder that I came to feel so old and boring so fast.

Fortunately, I love what I do.  As an art student at Sewanee, many years ago,  I learned to “re-write my thesis every day.”  I try to maintain some semblance of this strategy in the way that I operate WSM Craft.  Naturally, we build on what we know, but it is thrilling to watch our “specialties” meander as we come to know more.   I am thankful for challenges and opportunities the year has yielded to expand what we know and what we are capable of.  I am thankful for our staff, subcontractors, vendors, and colleagues that pooled their efforts towards beautiful and unique creations.  Perhaps most of all, I am thankful for those clients who have believed in us and worked creatively with us towards exceptional ends.  Without your patronage and confidence, what we do would not be possible.

We look towards the horizon of 2015 with clear eyes.  We have expanded our staff of craftsmen and our subcontractor pool, allowing us to take on larger and more ambitious projects. We have moved to a new, larger shop in West Asheville, enabling us to produce our own line of cabinetry and custom millwork, and further refine our abilities as artisans.  And we have a stronger tailwind, so to speak, than in we have in years past.  In October, the Asheville Homebuilders Association recognized WSM Craft with the Parade of Homes Award for Remodeling and Special Projects.  It is truly an honor to be applauded by our peers in such a vibrant and prolific building community.  As the Owner of this business, it makes me proud to know that the word has gotten out.

And so we are thankful.  Very thankful.