A mile together

The measurement we use to mark distances – a mile – has a very interesting history.

In some areas of Europe, the mile could have been as long as 10 Kilometers – more than six miles. There are several other lengths, some of which we still use today. A statute mile measures out at 5280 feet, yet a nautical mile equals 6076 feet. Thus, you get different measurements when looking at speeds. A boat traveling at 50 miles per hour is hitting 43 knots.   Confusing, eh?

The origin of the term came from the days when the Roman armies marched through Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa as they built their Empire.  As those soldiers marched to far away battlefields, commanders needed a way to gauge how far they were from home base, and how much more they had to travel to get to their new posts.  So, as the solders marched, each thousandth pace was noted as one mile (think millimeter.. 1,000 of those suckers make up a meter). Since the average Roman soldier’s pace was about five feet, a mile measured out to about 5,000 feet. The Romans were also excellent record keepers, and this distance became a standard in the ancient world, helping guide travelers for the past 2,000 plus years.

Today,I am posting my thousandth post on Tom’s Workbench. What seemed like a goal waaaaaay off in the distance back in August of 2007 is now here, and I often wonder how I have made it this far.

No doubt, you have read enough of the early days of the blog. I have spent the past two months throwing bouquets to the folks who have helped make the blog what it is today.  I have meant every word of those articles. Sincerely. There were several times during the early days when I asked myself, “Why keep going?”  Each of those people at one time has helped me put one foot in front of the other, keeping the blog’s slow and steady pace.

There is another group of folks that I didn’t have a chance to thank yet – the most important ones. Each of you. Sure, if I had no readers every day, I’d still probably be out there putting up post after post for my own personal enjoyment. But, sharing this journey with each of you has helped to make this a far more enjoyable trip.  I have had folks walk up to me at woodworking shows and energetically shake my hand, happy to have met a ‘celebrity.’

In reality, it’s me who is far more excited to meet you!  I mean, you suffer through what passes for content on this site, and you do it willingly!  There’s a sainthood in it for you somewhere!

While today’s post is a big milestone, it’s not the end of anything.  I’m reminded of a question my friend Scott Morton asked me  at Allan Lindsey’s dining table near the end of Woodworking in America 2011: What are your goals for the blog?

Talk about your  loaded questions!  Of course, I would love for my blog to make a million dollars for me so I could quit my day job and woodwork full time.  Yeah.  That will happen about when Iggy gets his PhD and takes a rocket to the Moon. Instead, I want to keep offering my quirky insights into this somewhat  maddening yet incredibly rewarding craft. I’m sure I will still make mistakes. And, yes, I’ll make decisions that you will look at and wonder if I have possibly lost my mind. I might even build some nice looking furniture and have you gawk in amazement that all of the pieces actually came together.

Regardless of what the next posts have in store, I’m glad to have each of you along for the ride.

Thank you for everything you have done.

Now, what to write about for Wednesday.. 😉

15 thoughts on “A mile together”

  1. Congratulations, my friend!!! And I am so glad to call you my friend. You spew energy into the world for the rest of us to absorb and carry into our daily lives. It’s been a true pleasure to be on this journey with you! Cheers to the next thousand posts!!

  2. One of my favorite blogs, and one of the nicest guys I know.
    (and a pretty cool monkey thrown in as well !)
    You just keep going buddy, and we’ll tag along for the awesome ride.
    I have learned a lot from your offerings and I truly appreciate it.
    Being a “celebrity”, but still a fellow that a guy can come up to and goof around with is a nice change from those who would take themselves too seriously.
    You have great talent in both woodworking, and journalistic skills, but as important as those are, it is still a pleasure to see a guy having fun with the things he likes to do.
    Keep up the good work Tom, and congratulations on your 1000th post.
    That’s quite an accomplishment, but we all knew you had it in you.
    All the best to you and your family.

  3. Congratulations Tom and thank you. Your Blog is informative and often makes me smile. You take woodworking seriously but not yourself and I look forward to reading the blog for as long as you care to write it. Well done.

  4. Good job man its a great feeling meeting a goal that one has set for themselves, eh
    Keep up the good work. by the way I think its great that you take the time to answer individual messages! awesome

  5. Congrats Tom! Here’s to many thousand more posts and that million dollar retirement fund!!! Thanks for all the thought provoking and inspirational content! You’re the man!!!

  6. Thanks to you Tom for being there and inspiring all of us. Like I’ve said before, it is nice to know that the celebrity really is one of us!

  7. I can’t imagine what it takes to put up one thousand posts. I recently started my own woodworking blog, inspired by yourself and others, and am about to publish my fourth post. I have a number of subjects lined up for the future, which should take me all the way to ten posts. I hope something else comes up between now and then.

    Thanks for sharing all of your insights and observations. Its great to know there are others out there for whom this is only a hobby and that their real world job is where you go to day dream about what you really want to do.

    Congrats on number 1,000. May there be a thousand more.

  8. As to the origin of the mile….it is based on the distance of 1000 “paces” of a Roman soldier. But a pace is TWO STEPS.

    Also the nautical mile is one minute of latitude.

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