Ten years ago, when Lutheran Hospital was planning its Heart Pavilion off West Jefferson Boulevard, one doctor lamented that in clearing the land, some really nice trees were going to be bulldozed and ground to pulp.
Well, hospital officials told the doctor, if you want them, cut them down and take them.
So the doctor did just that. He contacted a forester who told him which were the most desirable trees, had the trees cut, and let them dry for a few weeks. Then he hired a man with a portable sawmill to cut them into lumber and haul the wood to Michigan to be kiln-dried.
In all, the trees – some more than 100 years old – produced about 2,000 board feet of walnut, oak and maple lumber.
So what happened to the lumber?
Lets start by describing the doctor who harvested the trees: Andy OShaughnessy, a nephrologist, or kidney specialist. He talks fast, sticks to the point and doesnt try to be witty. He also doesnt describe himself as a patient man.
My friends say Im not patient, he said. If I want something, I want it today.
But OShaughnessy said he remembered the original St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, where he received training. They had a giant grandfather clock there.
And that was where OShaughnessy got the idea. Hed use some of that wood he harvested to make a grandfather clock, three of them, actually.
Armed with plans from a Canadian company, he went to work.
OShaughnessy, though, is also a woodworker, and when you get into the woodshop, all impatience seems to disappear. You can be meticulous. If you make a mistake on a piece of wood, you can toss it aside and start over. Time flies.
Meanwhile, OShaughnessy hooked up with a retired doctor who was a master carver and took lessons.
Add it all up – the drying time for the wood, the carving lessons, meticulously cutting the wood in the wood shop, then the carving, the sanding, the staining, the varnishing, then finding the guts for the clock, installing the mechanism and then spending six months tweaking it so it runs just right and tinkering with the chimes so that the hammers hit not too hard, not too softly, but just right.
In all OShaughnessy spent nine years working on that grandfather clock.
Last month, the first completed clock was delivered to the Lutheran Heart Pavilion at the hospital, where it sits at the end of the long hall at the entrance, about 50 feet from the very spot where the tree that produced the wood once stood.
There are still two other clocks still in the works, one about 80 percent done and the other 90 percent done. One will eventually be delivered to Matthew 25. The last will sit in OShaughnessys home.
How long will it take to complete the last two clocks? Its hard to say.
But hey, its only time.