Always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate.
So you won't believe what I'm about to tell you. But I can prove it.
My black-hearted pirate self has been thoughtfully and humorously rendered, caricature style, in an intricately-detailed custom-made hand-carved figure so marvelously authentic, so brilliantly wrought, that upon receipt of same into my hands, it became an instant heirloom.
A classic, as it were.
When the undertaker closes the lid on me? My kids will fight over who inherits this.
Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.
To avoid confusion -- and a potentially irreparable rift in the family -- I shall amend my Last Will and Testament immediately, bequeathing said objet d'art to the Columbia Museum of Art, which institution shall likely display it in a permanent collection devoted to local noodles.
There, for all of posterity, not only those who survive me but the public at large may view and marvel at this extraordinary creation.
Allow me to explain how it came to be.
For several years -- practically my whole blogging life -- I have read and enjoyed the blog of one Mari Bruins of Allendale, Michigan.
Reading My Little Corner of the World is a delight because of the friendship I treasure with its owner, a kind and special lady whom I have never had the honor of meeting in person but who, for several reasons, is important to me nonetheless.
Those fortunate enough to have become acquainted with Mari through her blog have seen many instances of the enormous God-given talent of her husband, Bob, in the area of wood carvings.
He makes furniture and stuff too. Yeah. Bob's skill is not confined to whittling, no matter how elaborate.
In his meticulously-kept woodworking shop, I do believe Bob Bruins could make just about anything except maybe an atomic bomb.
So it was that, years ago upon marveling at pictures of Bob's wood carvings displayed and discussed on Mari's blog, I may have mentioned that I sure would like to someday own a pirate carving.
As in, wouldn't it be neat if Bob carved a pirate that I could maybe buy, if I could afford it? Because I don't know what it costs to commission a Robert Bruins original carving, but if it isn't a lot, it should be.
I promptly forgot all about the whole thing. Until last Friday night.
That's when I came home to find a box on the floor beside my desk where TG had put it after retrieving it from beside the front door, where FedEx had put it.
I could tell by the return address that the package had originated from a business in Allendale, Michigan. A business where, from reading his wife's blog, I know Bob Bruins is a manager.
Still, you could have blown me down with a feather when, upon unwrapping the box and a second box contained within the first box, my own pirate self in effigy emerged.
A hand-carved Jenny the Pirate standing approximately ten inches high, with a plate affixed identifying said treasure as such.
An original signed Robert Bruins art piece. My very own original signed Robert Bruins art piece.
I was a touch overwhelmed. TG and Erica were present when I opened my gift and honestly, their peals of laughter told me that Bob and Mari Bruins had pulled off a major coup.
So naturally I summoned the two miscreants on me pirate cellie and we had a conference call in which Mari revealed amid much chuckling on all sides that she'd never forgotten my stated wish to own a Robert Bruins carving in the form of a pirate.
And at some point in time this now quickly-waning calendar twelvemonth, Mari suggested to her beloved that this be the year when he created said pirate.
Bob chimed in, claiming he enjoyed making the pirate so much (using a photo of me to approximate my eyebrows, my rouged cheeks, my red-lipsticked lips, my black hair, my large-ish nose, and my curmudgeonly gaze, if not technically my normal wardrobe), that he was amused to the point of laughter multiple times during the process.
Robert Bruins is positively an elf! Aided and abetted by his sweet but cagey wife. She/they may be pirates same as me.
But don't you love my pirate attire, non-standard for me as it is? The coat, the crossbody belt, the red vest, the white ruffled blouse? Also I am sporting gold pirate swag on each hand.
Jenny the Pirate's sword is magnificent, and the hat -- well. Pirate perfection.
You'll notice the boots, clearly of well-traveled genuine leather, a must-have for any pirate worth his/her salt, and the wood planks on which they are poised -- the deck, no doubt, of a beautiful boat. Ship.
Uh-oh. One or two pieces of eight seem to have escaped from the pirate's well-stuffed parcel of pelf.
Apparently there's a leak.
Even so, never shall I be without my effects. And the whole thing has that wonderful wood-and-varnish smell. I love it to the entire ocean and back.
When you have a moment, check out Bob's website By His Hands: Caricature Carvings by Robert Bruins.
So named due to Bob's giving all the credit to his Creator for the talent in his own hands.
In fact, Bob places a minuscule but significant handprint somewhere on each of his custom creations.
A special card affixed by a bit of twine to my pirate's leg reads:
When God formed man he figuratively left his hand prints on his creation. Genesis 1:27 says we are made in the image of God, reflecting his attributes and ways.
"By His Hands" carvings are the outcome of the creative gift God has given me. The mini hand print you will find on my pieces is there to give credit where it is due, to God alone.
Jenny the Pirate's tiny symbolic handprint is strategically placed on its shoulder, where I most often need gentle nudges in the right direction.
As it should be.
Ever shall this magnificent and unique gift be displayed with love and pride in my home.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Bob -- you're a diamond, mate -- and Mari too. I may be a black sheep and a really bad egg, but I'm a truly grateful pirate.
Now bring me that horizon.
Happy Monday ~ Merry Week-Before-Christmas