As I said in my previous post Tom Bailey didn’t talk a whole lot in the Leonard Shop but when he did it was usually pretty good. One story that will always stick in my mind– and which I remembered in writing the last post–is one he told me about his early days as a rodmaker at the Leonard shop.
It was a hot summer afternoon and Bailey was at his workbench, working away fastidiously, when he decided that he wanted to open up the shop window near his bench to let in some fresh air. As he was propping it open, he happened to look down and noticed that there was a fully jointed rod lying in the bushes below. Bailey was puzzled by this, of course, but was so engrossed in his own work that he soon forgot about the occurrence and went back to his bench.
An hour or so later a gust had blown the window shut and as Bailey was re-propping it, he looked down again and saw that now there were two rods lying in the bushes. Once again, however, Bailey was so busy that he quickly forgot the puzzling sight and went back to work.
At the end of the day, when the clock struck five, he went to shut the window for the night and this time noticed that there were three rods lying in the bushes below.
At this point in the story, I couldn’t help myself. “What was it?” I remember asking Bailey.
“Well,” he said with a grin, “it seemed like someone at the shop was doing a little window shopping. One for the shop, one for me.”
That story still makes me chuckle.