Today I had a friend ask me to help him with a project he was making as a Christmas gift. This is a young man who worked for me when he was a teenager and now has a family of his own. Fatherhood suits him well, as I always knew it would. He is one very nice young man. Helping the little bit that I did reminded me of all of the things that I, too used to make at Christmas. So before we go any further, I want you to know that this month's F word is "Fabricate." I look back at those years growing up around the farm when we fabricated lots of things. We would build lots of functional things on the farm like cattle gates, wagon beds, and more. The things that I remember most though, were the things we made for fun. One summer we made a go-kart. We didn't have a welder, so almost everything was made of wood, including our go-Kart. I must have been 11 or 12 years old at the time. I had picked up a small gas motor from a friend and with help from my uncle and grandpa, some old lawn mower wheels, a couple of vbelt pulleys, and a lot of imagination, we had an actual working go-kart. There were no brakes and foot steering, but it went and it was fun. My uncle was really great when it came to making things like this. A carpenter by trade, he knew that with a plan and the right tools anyone could build anything. I remember some of the toys I received for Christmas as a child and how some of them seemed to be more than just what came out of a box. A wind up train I got one year was mounted to a piece of decorated plywood with a tunnel made from wood and stretched canvas on one end. As a child, I just thought that Santa must have liked me best or he wouldn't have done all of that extra work to make something that you couldn't buy in any store. When I became a father, I became the real Santa at Christmas. I loved making (fabricating) all types of different things for not only my children, but for many of my close friends and family. These are just a few of the things that I made for the boys over the years: a completed farm set with all of the out buildings, a toy box with their hand prints on the top and their initials on the side, a rocking horse, pop up dart gun targets, a ninja turtle chair, a mini weight bench with wooden and pvc weights, and not to mention, lots of t-shirts or other garments with custom lettering or artwork. I loved every minute. As an adult, the homemade gifts that I receive today are, and always will be, the ones I treasure most: the homemade ornaments that my grandkids made, the pies that we get from the neighbors, and the welded steel Christmas star the was given to me by a man who always treated me more like a son than a friend. These are the things that not only make Christmas special, but life special. There is still time this year for you to really show how much others mean to you by baking cookies, knitting a scarf, painting a picture, writing a poem or song, or building a bean bag game. Fabricate! Before the young man left my shop today, he asked me why I hadn't written one of my F word articles in a couple of months. I asked him, somewhat surprised, if he read my articles and he said yes. So, I truly apologize to all of my readers for dropping the ball. I will do my best to keep writing now that I know there are those who enjoy the reading. Thanks, Chris for the encouragement. Merry Christmas!