The Reindeer Mystery

The Reindeer Mystery

A few years back I purchased a pair of carved wooden reindeer at a thrift store. Each Christmas since, they have graced my mantle. They stand just six inches tall, made out of maple or perhaps walnut. Their graceful necks, backs and haunches have been sanded smooth before being rubbed with a coat of honey stain. One of the reindeer is two toned, a result of a vein of dark grain embedded in the wood.

The reindeer are a bit of folk art really, carved by hand, probably with a sharp but simple knife. When they came to me, however, they were without a signature or mark to name the craftsman that created them. Indeed, I’ve often wondered who carved them. A high school student completing an assignment in wood shop? A retired worker, finally able to take time to whittle, what before, he’d only imagined in his dreams? I wish I could thank whoever made my little reindeer. Let them know that I’ve often studied the cuts in their faces and antlers, and over these years discovered that while these reindeer are much alike, each has its own distinct personality. Mostly, I like to let them know how much theses simple statues mean to me.

As the year winds down, and we take a little time to enjoy the season, remember to let the people in your life who have impacted you, if even in the simplest of ways, by a kind act or deed or by sharing their talent with you, that you appreciate the time and efforts they’ve made on your behalf.

I know for me, it would be rewarding indeed, if only I could thank the artist who found two charming reindeer hiding inside a small block of hardwood.


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