Job harder, hours longer and that works out fine

September 17, 1992|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,Contributing Writer

Richard Jenkins speaks with the quick confidence of a man with work to do.

But not too long ago, things did not look so bright. He was 45, the grandfather of two, and unemployed.

Now, with a film of sawdust on his glasses, pencils protruding from his apron, he can point happily to his tools and cans of wood stains as he talks about his burgeoning woodworking business.

And Mr. Jenkins can flash an easy smile as he speaks of the Carr-Lowrey Glass Co. in Baltimore, where he worked for 20 years before the company eliminated his job in January 1991.

By then, he had grown tired of the stifling routine, the endless paper-shuffling.

"It was confining. It was inside," he said.

So Mr. Jenkins decided to turn his woodworking hobby into a career.

He had been selling his cabinets and tables for extra cash for a few years, and with his severance pay, he upgraded his tools and began crafting wood products full-time.

A few months later, Mr. Jenkins and his wife, Dottie, opened The Country Woodshed on Earleigh Heights road in Severna Park. He builds things all day in his shop. She paints and runs the store.

"I haven't set an alarm clock since I stopped working," said Mr. Jenkins.

Curious phrase, "stopped working" -- he now works longer hours than ever. Before last Christmas, the couple only got about four hours of sleep a night, said his wife.

Mr. Jenkins smiled as he spoke. "My worst days here I have less headaches, it's less frustrating, than my best day when I worked."

DTC His conversation slips and jumps from the business to his pets to tales of Severna Park back in the 1950s when his family had to use a party-line phone.

He speaks of an age when he could drive from Glen Burnie to Macey's Corner without hitting a stoplight.

He's even pleased to explain why three geese and a couple of chickens are wandering around his yard. They are pets, as are the two ducks and three turkeys, which were in their cages the other day.

The shop is doing well as it nears its first anniversary next week, though Mrs. Jenkins admitted that she's "sick of painting cows," as she pointed to a planter that sold well last Mother's Day, and which, sure enough, is decorated like a cow.

In the store, there are also miniature cow ornaments and a black and white spotted stool with a pink udder underneath.

But Mr. Jenkins seems intent on keeping up his hobby-turned-career. "I never anticipated sitting on a rocking chair," he said.

He will keep building until "they run out of pine trees."

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