Frank Daniels, designer of Freedom Frolics stage sets, and David Houck, president of the Freedom Plaza Woodworkers, display a scale model of “Best Little Horse Town in Texas” set. The show, slated for Sept. 17 and 18, is a benefit for the Freedom Plaza Scholarship Fund and is open to the public. For ticket information, call (813) 642-1213 or (813) 642-1215. PEGGY BURGESS
BY PEGGY BURGESS Special correspondent
Published: August 14, 2013
The music most familiar to Freedom Plaza residents is not that of the mellow piano stylings offered each noontime by fellow resident Ed Beck, or the songs of performers hired for some special event or even refrains echoing from a pub singalong. This easily recognizable “music” emanates from the second floor wood shop, and while not the most melodic sound around, it’s a happy one. It indicates that some resident do-it-yourselfer, blissful amid the scent of freshly cut wood, is creating handy household items or working on a special project. The 53 members of the Freedom Plaza Woodworkers club enjoy their small but efficient shop, with state-of-the-art power equipment, including an industrial grade table saw, band saw, wood lathe, drill press, power sanders and every conceivable type of hand tool. An abundant supply of free wood, screws, nails, glue and other workshop staples keeps them busy and content. Time spent in the shop is not only self-fulfilling for residents who enjoy woodworking but also a tremendous asset to the entire Freedom Plaza community.
One morning each week the shop is open for residents to walk in and have their small household items, like lamps, tables and chairs, repaired at no charge. Instead, customers are encouraged to make a donation to the Woodworkers Fund. Items for general use – like the decorative podiums in the auditorium – are made and donated by these talented craftsmen. A variety of unique wooden products, artfully displayed, are offered with any donation to the Scholarship Fund. The wood shop underwrites material costs by utilizing, in part, their own fund, which is derived from membership dues of $5 per year. As they have done for all previous shows, the woodworkers are designing and building the stage set and wooden props for the Sept. 17-18 Freedom Frolics presentation, “Best Little Horse Town in Texas.” This has involved making swinging doors for the Poison Pit Saloon, building a bar and a fake piano and even creating the bar-room mirror without which no saloon would be complete. We tip our collective hat in appreciation of these ingenious, productive woodworkers who to make life at Freedom Plaza more enjoyable. That sound of saws and sanders coming from the wood shop is indeed music to our ears. Peggy Burgess is a resident activities associate for Freedom Plaza and columnist for The Sun.