A couple months ago, I traveled to Western New York and spent a couple nights at the beautiful Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, NY.  In the hotel lobby, they were selling chocolate bars made locally and packaged with labels that had a time-honored Elbert Hubbard quote on it.  Here’s a picture of the actual label:

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but my wife does.  When I returned from the trip and presented these chocolate treats to her, her face lit up.  Not only does she love chocolate, but more than that when she read the quote on the label, she understood why I had to get them for her.

My wife grew up in a big old craftsman home in Eugene, Oregon.  Her parents not only restored the home, but in fact they saved it from demolition by purchasing it from the University of Oregon for $1 and having it lifted from its foundation and moved across town to a wooded lot in a quiet neighborhood (see below).

From a very young age my wife helped where ever she could in the painstaking process of stripping wood of paint, sanding it, refinishing it and doing anything else to help her parents as they all worked nights and weekends to restore the home.

After seeing how much she enjoyed the thought behind the chocolate bars, I knew that if I got the opportunity to return to the Roycroft Inn, I would have to make it a tradition to always bring home more of these chocolates for her.

Last week I got that chance.  While passing through East Aurora on my way to Buffalo to fly home to Portland, I again stopped at the Roycroft Inn.  While I wasn’t able to spend the night this time, I went into the lobby to buy some more chocolate…but much to my disappointment, they were no longer selling them!  I was devastated, but I remembered that across the street at The Copper Shop, they had signs made by local craftsmen Eric Zimmermann that had various Elbert Hubbard quotes carved into them.  I looked through the display and there it was…

It was perfect!  The same Elbert Hubbard quote carved into a beautiful slab of quarter-sawn oak.  I quickly grabbed it, paid for it and made my way back to the airport.  When I got home I added my own little personal message to the back of it (which I won’t share with you here), wrapped it up and gave it to her.

When she opened it, her face again lit up and as she read it, her eyes welled up.  Now that we are restoring our own craftsman home, this simple yet eloquent quote resonates even more with us and our shared love of the craftsman bungalow lifestyle.

It now hangs in our kitchen and is a constant reminder of our work-in-progress…our labor of love…our 1917 craftsman bungalow home.