By: Rita Villa


Crosses-cuttingWe do a lot of unusual things here at Smidgens. Over the years we’ve laser engraved Elvis on toast, cut parts for tattoo guns, and even laser cut a double wide coffin for a morticians birthday surprise. (But that’s another whole story.) I thought that was just about the weirdest thing…until the day came that topped it all.


It started off like any other day…the phone was ringing; everyone was running around trying to get everything done that everybody needed. Then these two guys came through the front door carrying part of a tree. Four boards that had been hand cut right from the branch. They were about 1/4” thick and of various widths and lengths with the bark still attached. They said they wanted to cut as many tiny prayer crosses out of them as we could get.


At first this didn’t seem that unusual of a request until they started telling us their story. It happened the weekend before. Their priest decided to take his parishioners into nature for the day’s sermon. The group hiked out in the woods, congregated under a big tree, and he began to speak.


All of a sudden the wind started to blow and in an instant, before anyone could move, a giant branch came crashing down right on the priests head. He died instantly. I can’t even imagine the shock and sadness the people sitting there felt.


crossesinhandSomehow in that moment of great tragedy someone had the mind to gather up that branch, drag it out of the woods, and take it home. Probably having no idea why they were doing that, beyond something inside them saying they should.


I still wonder when, or where, or who had that ah ha moment when they thought of making the branch into prayer crosses. I don’t even know how they found us. But I do know the story touched us deeply. Every one of us who was here that day remembers it like it was yesterday.


After we absorbed what was happening, we got busy. Roy drew the cross in AutoCad. They wanted something very simple with a small hole in the top for hanging on a string. We placed each board carefully on the laser table and within a few hours we had cut a hundred or so crosses. The men were thrilled and couldn’t wait to give them out to the parishioners.


What a life lesson. One minute we were running around caught up in answering the phone and getting things done. Then two guys wandered in carrying a branch and everything changed.