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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Mr. Sawdee (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

critter
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Spokane, WA
2551 Posts

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Spokane has an unsung hero of local Faires, Parks, and Carnivals. Though he's no longer with us, he deserves some *** recognition.
Ralph Sawdee (probably not his real last name), was unquestionably the most interesting character to ever appear at the Spokane Interstate Fair (and that's saying a lot since Weird Al has played there.)
Mr Sawdee, as he was known, was a woodcarver the likes of which has never been seen before or since. He displayed his masterpieces in a little wooden, glass windowed trailer that he built himself. Many of his creations were mechanized. He had a working replica of Spokane's famous Looff carrousel. He had hand built German cuckoo clocks and little dancing people.

(to be continued...)
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
critter
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Inner circle
Spokane, WA
2551 Posts

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Even greater than the depth of his talent at woodworking was the size of his heart.
Mr. Sawdee was my neighbor back when I was in grade school.
Once when it snowed I went over to his house to ask if I could have a board to use as a sled.
He went out to his shop for 10 minutes and came back with a board that he had attached runners and a rope to. Two days later on my porch was a vintage red sled that he had carved my name and address on.
My Mom tried to pay him for it but he refused.
He never charged for his 'museum' either. He did accept donations when he exhibited at the fair, but he was always happy to let the neighborhood residents check out the stuff in the big trailer (this was a different trailer than the smaller one he used at the Faires and parks. It was larger and had many more creations in it) for no charge.
I don't know what his job had been, but he seemed to have enough money. He lived in the nicest house in the neighborhood. I'm sure some of it's niceness was the result of his skills. I think he had been in the Army in one of the World Wars. He looked exactly like Colonel Sanders.
He also spent a great deal of time taking care of his beloved wife. She developed a form of dementia later in life and would sometimes wander out of the yard and not be able to find her way home. Whenever we noticed this happen we'd go tell him so he could bring her home.
Mr. Sawdee was one of the coolest dudes I've ever known, in every way a person can be cool. In this age of the internet and travel shows he'd probably have achieved some level of international fame, but he was of another time.
I hope this small write-up does at least a little to spread the name of this great man.

-fin-
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
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