Life Here

July 2, 2019 By Ray Arnold

Termite Talk

A Spirit House is a shrine to the protective spirit of a place such as a house in Southeast Asian countries. Ray and Audrey Schoch recall with pleasure their 1991 trip to Thailand. While walking around Bangkok, Audrey saw a Spirit House about 20 inches tall that she “just had to have.” Problem was this one had a heavy concrete base to keep the teakwood structure off the ground in a garden. In answer to her question, Ray responded, “You can bring back anything you can carry.” The Spirit House stayed in Bangkok.

A few years later they saw a very similar objet d’art in a Benicia antique shop. [The spirits must have followed her from Thailand.] It did not have a concrete base, and moments later it was on its way to their home in Vacaville.

Fast-forward to four months ago, when the Spirit House arrived at its new home on Flag Court and was perched atop a ceremonial ceramic Asian elephant. Recent high winds toppled it off its perch, and the Spirit House was shattered.

A Friday Flash Termite notice prompted Audrey to call Wolf Schaechter. After he viewed the pieces and accepted the project on behalf of the Termites, the fitting, realigning and gluing began. However, one dragonhead was irretrievable. In Wolf’s words, “I don’t really know what got me started replicating the lost dragonhead, but I did it on the very costly, limited-use scroll saw furnished for our shop by Ed Bradley. It turned out to be easy to use despite my poor freehand skills. I also made a very small roof piece that was more intricate than I expected. Perseverance paid off and it came out okay. The only part that didn’t turn out perfect was the staining. The plywood replicas didn’t like taking stain, and the color didn’t match, but they are acceptable. You have to look very closely to tell the difference.”

“Came out okay” may be too modest. In Audrey’s words “It looks exactly like the original. I am absolutely thrilled with Wolf. He is magic!” And the guardian spirit of the land was heard to say, “Come on-a-my house.”

Give us a call. We’d love to hear from you and help fix your spirit, too.


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