On this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for much, but I’m especially thankful for my shack. It’s finished, as much as any place you live in is totally finished, and I use it nearly every day. I’m thankful for its warmth and comfort, its quiet, its utility. I’m thankful for what it gives me-solace, peace, and a sense of retreat from stress. While I am the one who conceived the idea of creating this space, and building it myself, I certainly did not do it alone. This Thanksgiving I have a lot of people to thank. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.
Australians Yuri and Steve for helping me build the original shack Overlooking the Pacific outside Sua, Ecuador in 1976.
Lester Walker for devoting a whole book to personal spaces.
David Minch for first building almost the same beautiful shack somewhere else.
My wife Colleen for accepting the concept.
WCMY’s Radio Trader and the guy who sold me the patio door for $100.
John Liebhardt, carpenter, for consultation, bailing me out of framing problems, cutting the first rafter, making the stair stringers.
My daughter Maureen for all her thought, labor, support and encouragement.
Kerem Araci for all that good immigrant labor.
My son Dean who helped me build the porch in a day.
My brother Darwin for the trenching, all the electrical wiring, building the stove table, giving me tools, and convincing me I could do it all.
My brother in law Ron and his sons Brian and Brad Schieber for bracing the floor, installing the glass wall and cedar siding.
John (Jackie Knight’s brother) for donating the steel for the stove table.
Marine Stove Works on Orcas Island, Washington for finally delivering the Sardine stove.
My brother Denny for urging me to build the shack from the beginning and travelling from California to help put sheeting on the frame, defining the space.
McConnoughay Roofing for the obvious.
Maze Lumber for finally getting me to understand what I needed to do to vent my stove through the roof so as not to burn the place down.
Matt Krewer for installing the stovepipe and chimney and getting it right.
Gary Smith, my neighbor, for hooking the shack to the house panel and turning on the lights.
My neighbor Bill Zeller for tool loans and encouragement.
Jim Hinterlong for his truck, tools and helping with the foundation beams.
All the guys at Golden Rule Lumber for teaching me about building materials, talking me through confusion, and free delivery before the gas prices went up.
Bill Aplington for crafting the beautiful stained glass triptych.
Jim Vaughn for putting me on to Jim Scoma.
Jim Scoma from Tonica lumber for persuading me to buy the right windows and for trimming out the shack.
Megan Van Vliebergen for giving me my writing desk.
Davison Sawmill, Sawyer Michigan for building the hickory slab writing desk.
Joe Martin for building the stereo cabinet.
Rich Goetz for donating the speakers and CD changer.
Joe and Will Garcia for helping me cut and split the first batch of oak for the stove.
The Daily Times for the pallets from which I made the wood crib.
Kerry and Pat Bryson for the donation of pine stove wood.
Thank you to all the people for all the gifts, help, and encouragement I found among the people close to me. Thanks for understanding the shack, my need to build it, and most importantly my need to be in it. I wrote this thank you from there.