The Dart: Natchez man stays a cut above with walking sticks

Published 12:06 am Monday, September 18, 2017


NATCHEZ — Though we live in a technology-centered world, a 67-year-old Natchez man who goes by the name Tom Boogy showed Friday just what human hands can do.

When The Dart landed on Lower Woodville Road, Boogy was carving his own personal walking sticks using mainly a box cutter, a small hook knife and a machete.

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“That’s all I need,” Boogy said holding up his box cutter. “This is all I need right there.”

Boogy said he began making walking sticks 30 years ago, claiming that he taught himself at the drop of a hat.

The Natchez native is happy to say he has lived here his entire life with no regrets.

“I wouldn’t trade nothing in this world for it,” he said. “Ain’t nothing like home, baby.”

Boogy has accrued quite a collection to date. He had nearly a dozen walking sticks on hand, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some sticks he carved out of oak, others pine, and some out of tree vines.

Often, he draws inspiration from animals while making his carvings. One stick was meant to represent a peacock. Another carving, which was actually an elongated ashtray, was based off one of nature’s most-feared reptiles.

“That’s a rattlesnake tail,” Boogy said, noting the intricacies of the ashtray.

As he prepares to turn 68, Boogy practically lives out on his porch, carving the days away.

“This is all I’m going to do,” he said with a smile.

He estimated that each walking stick he does takes about 24 hours to make, depending on the design. As for the motivation, Boogy said he does not sell any of his creations.

“I just like making them,” Boogy said.

Boogy said he makes good use of his sticks. Every now and then, he will give one away to someone if they need it.

“I’ll give it to some old people,” he said. “But no young people.”

Boogy carves alongside his canine companion, “Hot Dog,” whom Boogy said “must be nearly 20-years-old.”

Boogy takes pride in his craft, and he even marks some of his sticks with his name as an artist signature of sorts. And in an age when machinery rules, Boogy especially takes pride in the fact that his art is a product of his own two hands.