Ray Brink's shop, East Hartford, New York, June, 2015.
Ray Brink’s shop, East Hartford, New York, June, 2015.
“Everybody wants to be a doctor, computer whiz, guitarist or something.

 I think they would be better off working with wood,” said Brink, gliding a chisel down a piece of tiger-striped maple.

I took a drive tonight as the sun was beginning to set. I stopped and took this photo of my friend Ray Brink’s shop. It’s quiet now; Brink died three years ago from complications of being shot through the lungs by a Chinese communist sniper in Korea a while back. He was in and out of the VA hospital in Albany all of the time towards the end. Somehow he kept kicking, though, and was a fixture at the local diner, bothering the waitress/owner with a twinkle in his eye. Then he stopped coming in.

He lived about a mile down the road from my shop. He came up one day to the house during a barn sale we had, introduced himself, and invited me down to marvel at his highboys- if you don’t know what one is, google a pic and you will see what a talent he had.

Everyone in Hartford knew him. His shop was in the upper loft of the barn. He had a picture of President Clinton pinned to the wall with a carving knife in an inappropriate place and a calendar with very naked women, but he sure knew how to work wood. I never did figure out how he got his furniture down the stairs when he finished his pieces; I suspect they came apart for easy transport, like I build my stuff.

Rest easy, Brink.