A Bit of Rambling about a Beautiful Sunny Day, and Being Bummed Out about A Stolen Knife

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 09-09-2008 08:15 PM 5081 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I awoke this morning to a dreary, cold, very foggy day.

I don’t mind fog, my morning commute to work is only about 40 feet behind the house, and a little fog doesn’t slow me down much walking out there. Actually, it is mornings like this that I’m reminded how much I have to be thankful for. Back in the days when I had to commute by car 87 miles to Wichita, a foggy morning like this one was a real burden, even treacherous.

I always write on the calendar when we have a heavy fog morning. Why?

A lady told me one time that an old Indian method of predicting the weather was to count 90 days ahead from a heavy fog morning, and it would either rain heavy, or snow heavy, about that time. I’ve counted it many times since she told me that, and sure enough, it works. At least most of the time.

Pain in the Neck:
My neck has been stiff and sore today, a lingering result of a motorcycle accident injury back in my Harley Riding days about 15 years ago. I Didn’t feel it was a problem at the time of the accident, and so I didn’t file any lawsuits at that time. Mornings with a sore neck like this though, I wonder if I did the right thing.

I just hate lawsuits, but it was the other guy’s fault, and I was innocent. Still, he was 86 years old, and just misjudged the time he had to turn in front of me as I approached on my motorcycle with my wife riding behind me on the seat.

I felt sorry for him, he was really upset about what he had caused. I seemed to be alright except for scrapes, a sore neck, and a messed up Full Dresser Harley I’d only had for two weeks. The Wife had a scrape on her shin, but was ok. I never have been back to Springdale, AR after that “bad morning.” That was the last time the Wife rode behind me on a motorcycle, can’t blame her.

When I got my Harley back out of the shop 4 months later, I did enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Driving Course. I recommend them. The Wife also took the course, and like I said earlier, never rode behind me again. She picked out her new “wheels” before the ink was dry on her learner’s permit.

We later chose to sell the two Harleys, the Wife’s Yamaha Maxim, my old “72 Vette”, and my new 4×4 pickup to start a woodworking business. We felt that getting out of debt was a prerequisite to starting such a speculative business. I was right about that, and glad I don’t have the payments anymore. If I still had the debt, this business wouldn’t have lasted this long.

Sometimes I miss the old ‘74 FLH Shovel-Head I had restored, but not the “Vette.”

Back to Today:
But, other than the sore neck this morning, it all looked like a normal day today in paradise.

I went out to the shop after breakfast and a shower, turned on the lights, and prepared for another day of woodworking.

My plan today was to finish up a Hatmaker’s Tool for a guy in London similar to a Hinge-Shackle Curling Iron, that will be used to simulate the brim curl in a Homburg style Fedora Hat. Working away just minding my own business.

Then, about mid-morning, the sun came out, the fog left, and it is a beautiful day.

I was thinking how nice it is to be at home working in the shop, admiring the beautiful day in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and in walks the wife.

She usually doesn’t come out to the shop unless there’s bad news, or great news. For just “good news” she waits until I come to the house. Rarely does she call me to the phone, only if it is a paying customer that needs to speak with me.

This time, it was “Bad News.”

The Bad News:

The Wife told me that the art gallery in Wichita called to say that one of my custom Bowie Knives was stolen from the art gallery in Wichita, Gallery XII.

Seems it was the only thing in the gallery that was stolen, and that it probably happened during their “Final Friday” Open House where about 1000 people came through the gallery the last Friday night in August.

I decided not to drive down to Wichita for the Open House this past month, trying to cut back on the miles I drive to save some money. I guess I should have been there that night.

This is the 5th item I’ve had stolen from me in the years I’ve done craft work.

It doesn’t seem to get any easier each time.

Actually, it seems to be getting harder, from an emotional standpoint.

Two Walking Canes “walked” out of a store in Wichita last year, and before that it was two powder horns that a trader never would pay me for after he sold them at a Gun and Knife show.

Another art gallery in Texas finally sent me the money they owed me two years after selling one of my Ceremonial Pipes, so that “incident” I don’t consider “stealing” anymore.

I try to be careful with my stuff.

Sometimes I think I’m too careful. I just like to trust people, as they most often do the same with me.

The stores/galleries that I let show my stuff also try to be careful.

I guess in some way it is a compliment to have something I’ve made stolen.

But, then again, this craft work is how I put food on the table for a family of Four, and so it just hurts.

Bummed out in Kansas today, with a pain in the neck,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

12 comments so far

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 4835 days

#1 posted 09-09-2008 08:24 PM

NO bueno. And Kharma doesn’t put food on the table. Hope it turns up for you.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5202 days

#2 posted 09-09-2008 08:55 PM

Sorry to hear your bad news, Mark. It is never enjoyable to be violated by theives.

My son recently had his car burglarized. Someone took a rock and smashed the driver’s side window to gain entry. Then they stole his wallet, which he left under the seat, and a $500 check from a wedding he played for (piano). And as a bonus, they even got his spare key to the car (which he had in his wallet).

Today at work (telephone company), one of my coworkers told me that during the night, theives had stolen the aluminum awning over the door in the building that he reports to. Theives are also stealing outdoor air conditioning units from local churches and copper wire and plumbing from construction sites.

Police say that the large majority of thefts is the result of drug addiction. We are living in different times than our parents here in America.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 4922 days

#3 posted 09-09-2008 09:07 PM



Phew!! Well, I feel better… I hope you do too!... lol.

I can live a 1000 lifetimes, and I’ll never understand the mentality of people. Most theives that I encounter are oportunists… they see something and in a moment’s flash, they latch onto it. Most don’t think about consequences (jail) until later…. they rarely think about the consequences to the victim or his family reqarding the crime they’ve commited (nor do they care). I’ll never understand them. (When I catch up to them, I usually give them a very sobering reminder as the handcuffs go on and I stuff them into the cage)...

I’m sorry to hear about your theft. I hope that’s the last theft you experience, and you sell a million dollars worth after….


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5608 days

#4 posted 09-09-2008 10:14 PM

Sorry to hear it Mark. Is the gallery going to pay? I assume that they have insurance.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5522 days

#5 posted 09-09-2008 10:18 PM

...hum seems to me the gallery owner should shoulder some of the responsibility…

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5613 days

#6 posted 09-09-2008 11:17 PM


No insurance, no help from the gallery.

They have all consigners sign an agreement that they aren’t responsible for anything. I signed it.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 5231 days

#7 posted 09-09-2008 11:55 PM

It’s always a personal attack that just never sits well with me when you are violated like that. On the other hand as long as no one goes hungry and there are no physical injuries I look at it as a learning experience that will make me stronger (I gave up motorcycles also) and hope it doesn’t turn me into a cynic.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5613 days

#8 posted 09-10-2008 12:04 AM

Thanks Ron. I’m not sure I’ve given up motorcycles, just have to wait until I could afford them. Might be that will never happen. There are still the occasional, cool, windless evenings, when I get the hankering to go “ride.” Actually, I enjoyed wrenching on them more than riding them.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View rookster's profile


67 posts in 5358 days

#9 posted 09-10-2008 02:36 AM

Sad to hear about the stolen knife, Mark. It sure is beautiful. Is it typical for galleries to require a waiver like that? I know they have a vested interest in preventing this type of thing (they won’t get consignors if things walk too often) but it still seems wrong that they accept no responsibility for a theft.

-- Rookster, (

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5613 days

#10 posted 09-10-2008 06:54 AM

Rookster: I don’t know what is typical. All I know is that only one gallery I have worked with provided any insurance protection for my stuff. When the walking canes were stolen, Hatman Jack insisted on paying for them anyway. But, he’s like that, different than most any merchant you’ll meet. The last time a gallery told me they had insurance for theft and fire, it turned out to be the gallery that I pressured for two years to finally get them to pay me for the item they had sold. So, go figure?

The lady at the gallery that called, feels bad about it, and I know she does. At least it was one of my “cheap” knives.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5369 days

#11 posted 09-10-2008 08:13 PM

bummers :(

when I did parenting programs at a correctional centre the conversation about stealing came up a couple times. Here’s what I learned:
1) that if it’s under a dollar or if you don’t get caught – then it is not stealing
2) if you steal from a store then it is not a big deal because no one gets hurt (because of their insurance and because because it is a store (the guy who said this said that he would never steal from a person).

So there you go.. a little look inside some different types of thinking!

(not that that helps anyone who has been the victim of thievery)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5613 days

#12 posted 09-10-2008 09:04 PM

Thanks Debbie.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

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