A Good Friend Is Hard to Find …

May 6, 2013
ready for work

A Unique Appreciation for Dirty Overalls and Boots

Then every once in a great while you get lucky and one takes up residence under your porch.

Unexpected. Unheralded. Down on his luck. Exactly how you go from being a hobo to being a highly prized shop cat is something I’m still trying to figure out. Charlie figured it out, though. My shop cat Charlie, that is. He made the transition seamlessly. You’d have never known he hadn’t swung a hammer before or ever used a saw. He was a natural.

Not all animals are cut out for the rigors of shop life. The work is hard. The hours are long. The pay is meager. Charlie wasn’t in it for the money. While most cats are content to lie around all day in patches of sunlight, a good day for Charlie began with a stiff cup of coffee and ended with a beer and a dirty joke. It wasn’t uncommon to find him in the shop late at night working on his own side projects. Although I suspect that at times he was secretly fixing my mistakes.

A Little Well-Deserved R&R

A Little Well-Deserved R&R

Charlie broke the rules. He didn’t care that every bucolic image of shop life depicts a dog. He didn’t even groom much. He didn’t let the absence of opposable thumbs slow him down. All of the follies, failures, and small victories that characterize the life of a small shop, he was there for it all. He became proficient in human profanity.

He will be missed.

Join me in raising a glass to the animals that grace our lives. They give us something that can’t be bought. They come into our shops and give us something that can’t be made. They hold back nothing. They give away everything. They adopt us at least as much as we adopt them. We are lucky for getting to be a part of their brief sojourn. So, Clink! Clink! Hear! Hear! As Charlie always used to say, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”


  1. Andrew,

    Okay, no don’t you think that it’s just a bit off-the-wall that I emailed you earlier AND you posted soething on the same day? Karma my man!
    And Charlie, well I’m a better man for having heard about him! I will raise a glass to the memory of his handsome face, long whiskers and all.
    “To you Charlie”


  2. Hoisting my Young’s Double Chocolate Stout: To Charlie (and all the other dear departed friends.)

  3. I was never a good enough guy to earn a shop cat.

    My hat is off to you, sir.

  4. My condolences, Andrew. A good shop cat is indeed hard to find – and good friends are hard to replace.

  5. In the immortal words of…

    He said come look there’s a wardrobe of love in my eyes
    Take your time look around
    and see if there’s something your size

  6. Thank you guys for the kind words. I appreciate them a lot.

  7. Cheers. I wouldn’t be able to get a long without my shop cat and dread this day you are speaking of. RIP Charlie!

  8. clink clink,
    your presence here has been missed, it’s good to hear from you, my sad salutations to your beloved friend, I loath the day mine meets the same end.
    and another clink clink

  9. Checked in on a whim… and was surprised to see this. I’m very sorry to hear about Charlie.

    I don’t have any shop animals.. unless you count the wasps. Not very affectionate, but I guess they do work hard.

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