City Paper is not for tourists
Robert Stone runs the wood shop at the Armed Forces Retirement Home with his pal, fellow tenant and fellow Navy man Jim Webster.
“This place keeps me going,” says Stone, who’s lived at AFRH for two years. “I’m not well. I’ve been through the cancer.”
I tell him he looks fine and fit, and mean it.
“My insides are terrible,” he says.
If the shop really does keep him going, he returns the favor. From 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Stone and Webster can be found on the basement level of the complex drilling, lathing, carving and otherwise cutting wood.
Stone fashions tabletop art out of bark for kicks, whittles elaborate walking sticks out of branches, and takes requests from residents and management of the Home to repair old woodworking.
Today, Stone is making a new scrapbook for “an old guy” upstairs.
The wooden binder the old guy has been using for decades to hold his clippings sits on a table in the shop, falling apart. But Stone is on the case, and by the end of the week, the old guy’s prized papers — among them photos of a family dog, Thurgood Marshall and Oprah Winfrey — will be protected again.
Webster is doing a good deed of his own, too. He’s building a small picture frame for a resident.
As much as Webster loves working with his hands, he’s not real happy that he agreed to take on this job.
“I’m doing it under protest,” he says. “I put two hours of labor into it already, and the guy coulda bought his own frame at the Dollar Store.”