REMEMBERING LEE HUTCHINS
The recent death of Lee Hutchins brings to mind an individual with many talents. His gardens and woodpiles were works of art. His abilities in the woodworking shop were legendary. His saw filing skills were exemplary. His remarkable memory extended back seventy-five years or more. He held strong opinions on many topics and often expounded on them.
Lee also worked on numerous pieces of furniture of mine. Perhaps nothing was as ambitious as the time he restored my Victorian Gothic desk built by my Civil War veteran great-grandfather in 1885. It was not in good condition when he began work on it, but as usual he restored it to its original “glory.” How pleased I was to see it finished and how proud he was to have worked on it so meticulously. It now rests in my house in a distinctive location along with all the furniture Lee restored for me. I can’t go in many rooms without viewing at least one of his restoration projects.
I am also thankful that he filed two or three years ago all twenty-two handsaws that I own. Every time I cut a board with one of them in my shop, I am eternally thankful that he has made them so easy to use.
One of my most vivid memories of Lee will always be his use of the word “snum” which I had only heard used in East Bethel by the late Ormando Farwell (1881-1968) when I was a child in the 1950s. I always believed the word was considered archaic, but a check of my 1976 edition of the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, yields the information that its origin is unknown and it means “to vow or declare” as used in the phrase “I snum.”
Therefore, I can only conclude this letter by writing, I snum Lee Hutchins was pretty damn special and I am so grateful to have known him through these many years!