Texas Connects Us: Walt the Wood Whittler

In a wide open room near the back of his house, full of 2x4's and small knives, Walt is whittling wood.

It's how he spends most of his free time.

"If you're in a hurry, don't whittle," he said with a chuckle. "Whittling is not a contest of speed."

Walt grew up in Lewisville and began whittling when he was in high school.

"I got to going to this BBQ place in Irving. Walter Harvey's BBQ, " he recalled. "And when you stood in line to go through that little BBQ stand there, he just had book casings full of whittlings."

Walt wanted to make things too and before long, he was hooked.

"I get ideas from everywhere," he added. "You get bored working on the same thing, so I've always got 2 or 3 going."

Some pieces can take Walt up to ten hours to make.  And through the years he's made all kinds of things, from small cowboy figures to boots and flowers.

"Some things you whittle and you don't know what the hell it is," he joked.

Whittling is relaxing for Walt, after years of punishing blows on the football field.

"We went to two Super Bowls and went to the playoffs every year but one, " said Walt.

Walt's last name is Garrison.

In the late 60's and early 70's, he was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys.

He even taught his teammates how to whittle.

"Bob Lilly would come in there and say show me how to do this or show me how to do that and he got to where he could whittle pretty good," Walt said. "I roomed with Charlie Waters and I wouldn't let him whittle because he'd cut his thumb off or something. I said, don't cut yourself, or Tom Landry will cut me!"

Working with wood became a peaceful escape for Walt.

"That's why I started doing it out there in training camp because I couldn't sleep," he added. "You can look at your playbook and everything else while you're whittling."

But these days it's all for charity.

"They sold one at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo fundraiser and it brought $850.00," he said.

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