My husband once said that he fell in love with me because being with me made him want to be a better person.
I strongly believe that, many years before, he fell in love with cue making for the same reason. It is rare to find someone so passionate about their art that it causes the person to extend beyond who they are.
I think it is in design that Brandon is most happy. He will lay in bed sometimes working on drawing up a new design, messing with it until it is just right. It is the ultimate exercise in perseverance and patience. He basks in the excitement of seeing a design reach completion.
Sometimes, with the enthusiasm of a kid who has lost their first tooth or learned to ride a bike without training wheels, Brandon will pull me into the shop to show me what he’s made.
It is in cue making that Brandon is the ultimate perfectionist. It was shortly after we were married that we were sitting around a campfire — Brandon and Dave had taken cues that hadn’t made the cut and were using them to stir the fire. When in the shop, it astounds me what little imperfection will cause a cue to fail to meet their high standards.
Cue making certainly taught Brandon and Dave both the importance of sacrifice. For many years, they both put in long hours at the shop before heading out on the road. But it was in working diligently when others would have gone home or out to a ballgame that they have become successful.
I have often heard the words, “you’ve got to make hay when the sun is shining.” After missing a cousin’s wedding, she noted that Brandon may have missed his own wedding if a tournament would have come up.
At the beginning of the business, there would be times when finances would be tight. Brandon and Dave would forgo taking their own paychecks so they could avoid laying anyone off. They have such a sense of responsibility for caring for their employees.
This same passion for taking care of their own is the reason they don’t outsource.
Owning the business with Dave has also fostered a more rich sense of family. We laughed when, at four, our son Alex told Brandon, “When I grow up, I’m going to work at the shop with you, and we’re going to drive each other nuts.” We teased that he must have been listening to Dad and Grandpa talking.
Through the years, many cousins and friends have become part of the business family as well. As I look at the relationships in that building, it is amazing to me the love that they share.
I think about the ways that everyone pours themselves into the business, and I also know the sacrifices they would and do make for me and for our family, and I am so grateful.
I am continually amazed at the way Brandon pours his heart and soul into what he is doing. Even when he isn’t at the shop, I’m pretty sure that’s where his mind is. He works harder than anyone I know and makes sure that whatever he does is done right. He cares for each person in the building and really values who they are and their dedication.
So, when Brandon told me that he fell in love with me because I made him want to be a better person, I guess I fell in love with him because being a cue maker already had.