Monday, July 19, 2010

Art in Heaven

Today has been one of remembering. I believe it has been brought on because a song keeps popping in my head and won't go away. "Yesterday"! I came across this story I had written just before my husband was diagnosed with the deadly brain tumor. We would sit and talk for hours and then he suggested I write the story of my art in Heaven.
Here it is, enjoy!

When artists are gathered at a show, they tend to brag on the amount of art they have sold and where their art is around the world. I had only been attending shows for two years and my bragging rights were mainly the eastern half of the United States, no grand foreign countries. My shows were limited to the enclosed mall in a tourist area of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where about six shows a year were scheduled.

I soon got over being shy and would remember people that had admired and possibly bought a piece of my art. There were a couple artists that took me under their wings and would help me, especially in pricing, and encouraging me every step of the way to be successful.

I had recently raised my prices, as suggested, when this priest that often walked through the mall to check out the work the artists had on display stopped at my booth and said, "I would like to buy one of your lighthouse etchings before you get to famous and I can't afford one."

Naturally I was so happy with a successful weekend.

About a year passed and I noticed the priest once again looking at my art. I wanted him to know that I had appreciated his patronage and that I recognized him. I shyly asked if he was enjoying the light house etching, and he replied, "Oh that wasn't for me, that was for my boss."

My mouth dropped open as I gazed towards Heaven. After several seconds, my husband realized I was in shock and gently poked me in the ribs to bring me back down to earth. He whispered to me, "I don't think he means that high up."

My face turned red as the priest smiled, winked and walked on. My husband lets my imagination run and lets me have my delusion that I have a piece of art in Heaven by saying, "Just be glad you didn't have to pay the freight."

Janie on living.

"I want to live".

The daily calendar diary from her birth flashed as did the lightning. Janie was born amidst the violence of WWII with all the doctors and medicine being sent to the war. It was June of 1944 and Janie was two months old. It was haying season and all the available relatives had come to help. They also wanted to see the beautiful new baby girl. One of the relatives was contagious with whooping cough. This was the beginning of almost a year long fight for survival. Every day the calendar read, still no medicine, we almost lost little Janie again today.' Then on April 8, 1945 the entry read, Janie made it today she is one year old.'

The year Janie turned seven a tragic accident took the sight of her left eye. This was the beginning of a life long struggle for survival in many different forms. At age thirteen the operations were still not successful. Then at the tender age of seventeen she married and eleven months later gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She felt that life was good and she was content and happy. Then at age nineteen Janie was informed by her doctors that the left eye would have to be removed immediately. Little did Janie know that she was also four weeks pregnant? The operation was successful and she then received the newest style plastic eye that moved just like the other eye. She also gave birth to a lovely baby girl. Life seemed to be good, but on her twenty-first birthday her husband decided to celebrate and left Janie home to tend the children. She was awakened near three in the morning barely able to breathe and feeling heavy blows to her face around her left eye. She could feel the life slipping from her body as her drunken husband choked and beat her attempting to kill her. Survival hit Janie as she found enough strength to fight free not knowing that her three year old son had already ran from the house for

: Help. The last words she heard before she collapsed were, "I can't stand your eye." He ran and was never seen or heard from again.

Janie not only picked herself up and carried on but she also had two small children that she had to see survive too. Janie threw herself into raising her children and for many years didn't feel the need for a husband. As she headed for what is known as the middle ages she again attempted a relationship which failed as well. She returned home from a family funeral and found her picture tacked to the garage wall with a bullet hole through the left eye. Janie's survival instinct kicked in fast as she and her newly widowed sister-in-law packed what few clothes and personal items they could and left and never looked back.

Janie wanted nothing more to do with men at this point in her life but fate change the path once again. She had refused to date this one persistent gentleman. Then due to a fake note Janie ended up on a date with him. That night both their lives changed and a love so true and complete caught them both off guard. They spent the next nineteen years in wedded bliss, happiness and love. Janie was content as was her husband. Then in two short months happiness was snatched from her by a quick growing cancer. Her husband was taken from her and she was once again faced with survival alone.

Janie lived quietly doing what she had done before so many years ago. Then two days after her sixty-fourth birthday a note arrived on her computer simply stating, "I'll be watching for you." Feelings swept through Janie identically to the ones the day she had won the lottery so many years ago. These feelings always meant only good things to come. Sure enough he was there and a friendship grew and as with many there were some hitches to over come. That we have done. Janie will continue to survive but she wants desperately to see these words in her next instant message.

"I want to live."

Janie's special birthday

This is a very special day for Janie, for she just celebrated her third birthday. Janie is going to visit the most special, most wonderful man in the whole world. Today Janie can talk as much as she wishes because today she is going to see her Grand parents on her Mom's side of the family.

Janie is very excited because she received her first pair of shoes that had never been worn by her older sister. They were white with a strap and buckle. The nine mile ride seemed like a hundred. Finally they arrived. She didn't have to walk like a lady today, Janie skipped all the way to the front porch, hopped up the steps and peeked through the screen door to see if Grand Dad was in his rocking chair by the door.

Yes, he was; he looked like a giant sitting there waiting for Janie to arrive. Janie slipped through the door and with a giggle showed Grand Dad her special shoes. He told her they were the prettiest shoes he had ever seen, he would like to wear them himself. Janie was so tickled by this statement,and up she went into his arms. She wrapped her tiny arms around his neck as he told her "Happy Birthday". Janie loved Grand Dad, with his snow white wavy hair, shoulders as broad as Texas and a heart and smile that big too! He stood six feet four inches tall, as well which really was a giant to Janie.

Lunch with Grand Dad was always fun for he ate dessert first, that way he knew he would enjoy and have room for his dessert. Now Janie was watching ever so closely to see if she could discover how he made the peas stay on the knife when he ate the peas. She tried, and the peas failed to stay on the knife. Grand Dad's jovial laughter echoed through out their home. Janie really knew that today was special because she was then given a knife with sticky stuff on it. Grand Dad dipped the knife into the peas and gave it to Janie. Sure enough, not a single pea fell off. The sticky stuff was so sweet and Janie learned it was honey.

It was soon time to take a walk down the lane. Janie chattered away asking Grand Dad questions about everything they passed. A hop toad, a turtle and many birds all different colors and sizes. They were nearing the railroad tracks and Janie listened intently to see if she could hear the "choo-choo-train" first. She knew it was near because Grand Dad lifted her up in his arms so she could see the train as it rounded the bend near a large stand of trees. Oh what great fun to wave at the train. They blew the great big whistle, clanged the bell .

And big white puffy clouds came out of it, too. Then at the end was the red caboose and someone always stood on the back and waved to them. They knew Grand Dad for he worked on the train during the depression.

As they strolled back toward the house they took a detour toward the garden. They had to check for potato bugs on the plants. Janie was hoping with all her heart that the "Skeeter-Skater" would come to help. He was the neatest, best helper. A great giant mosquito that wore ice skates and helped Grand Dad with all the chores. Janie sneaked through the plants and tall grasses hoping to see the "Skeeter-Skater". She couldn't find him, but Grand Dad knew right where to find him. He took Janie by the hand to the front porch, then Janie bent down and looked through the tiny holes in the lattice work. Quietly they went back inside to their favorite spot, Grand Dad's rocking chair. Grand Dad told Janie that the "Skeeter-Skater" needed to get some sleep because he had helped chop at least three cords of wood. Grand Dad had also worked as a lumber jack during the lean times. They then loaded the huge sled with wood and the "Skeeter-Skater" would glide across the pond very rapidly. Grand Dad was so lucky to have a friend like the "Skeeter-Skater". Maybe some day Janie could have a pair of skates and help too.

Grand Dad left when Janie was only eight years old, but the "Skeeter-Skater" was always sleeping when Janie came to visit her Grandma. Many years later and Janie has children of her own, she and the children along with Janie's Mom drove down to see Grand Dad's home. Janie noticed that the lattice work was practically down. She stopped the car, walked to the porch, bent down; Janie knew then, at age 33 that her beloved Grand Dad and "Skeeter-Skater" were both having a grand time in Heaven.

Janie drove slowly back towards the highway, tears streaming down her cheeks. She then was brought back to reality when she heard her son ask his Grand Mom, why mommy was sad. Grand Mom answered,
"Janie isn't sad, she only had to say good-bye to a very special friend".

Yes, Janie did get a pair of skates, and every winter as she glided across the lake she would smile and remember Grand Dad and his "Skeeter-Skater".

Life Changing Moments


Janie is seven: life changing moment

Today was to be a special day for Janie. School would once again start and her thirst for knowledge was bursting like an over filled water balloon.

September 6, 1951 was the day before, and the afternoon was very hot and humid with severe storms brewing like a secret potion in a witch's cauldron. Janie doesn't let this dampen her spirits for tomorrow she will be back in school. The storms are severe with tornadoes spawning from west to east across her beloved state of Michigan. Wreckage was heavy ending with a devastating hit on Flint, Michigan.

Janie arose the next morning only to find school had been canceled due to these storms. In the middle of the state where her family live, farm buildings and trees had been shredded and tossed about like tinker toys. All the people in her area had escaped with no loss of life.

It was then time to start the clean-up process and each person had their jobs to do with duties being assigned according to age. The three youngest consisted of her older sister, the youngest brother and Janie. She knew that the harder she worked the faster the next day would come and she would then go to school. Little did she know that her whole life would change drastically in one small moment?

Little brother did not wish to comply with the rules and as he defied his oldest sister's wishes, while Janie continued to do her tasks of picking up small branches and limbs. She was approximately twenty feet away when little brother threw one of his famous temper tantrums. He reached down and retrieved a heavy iron curtain rod; which in those days were used to hold the bottoms of the curtains straight and taut. He then hurled with all his might this heavy object directed at his oldest sister. His aim was off and the iron rod flew through the air striking Janie in the left temple and eye.

Janie fell to the ground immediately unconscious only remembering the pain and blood as she awoke traveling in a vehicle taking her far away from the farm. The next two weeks were a blur as the doctors operated three times trying desperately to regain Janie's eye sight.

Fate had played a cruel trick as Janie's life would never be one of the true happy, carefree days she had known and the life she so enjoyed. The learning would now be one of hurt, pain and loneliness. In spite of this tragic accident Janie continued her smiling happy ways and in her search of knowledge she discovered an inner strength and beauty which would see her through this life changing moment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picture it--North Carolina--summer 2010

I usually write about my flowers and today you will learn about DIY! Due to a broken water pipe I have been for three weeks now demolition and remodel of kitchen.
Today I was working on staining doors for new cabinets. It is a stain polyurethane combined. After completing the doors, I kept looking at the cut out from the counter where the sink is now placed. I am not one to let materials go to waste. The ol' gray matter is swirling in my brain. I decide it would be ideal for a cutting board, but decide to use my stain mixture on the back side to protect my new counters.

Now comes the fun story.

I finish the back and sides of the cut out from the counter and had decided to use a paint roller for a fast smooth job. I go out side to trash barrel, with paper towels and roller in hand. Of course when you apply pressure to remove said stained roller, it will always drip. Unfortunately it had to be my toes that were on the receiving end of this dripping stain. Very hot and humid here today so the toes are now sticking rapidly together. What a great time for the phone to ring! I am hopping through kitchen, dining room and living room to get to the phone and leave no toe prints in my wake!!! I explain to caller my predicament and hang up. Naturally there was not a drop of paint thinner in the house. I retrieve a bottle of rubbing alcohol and apply with paper towels to get toes unstuck. The bad news is, I have a new two toed nail polish which I don't wear nail polish at all. The good news is, I didn't leave any toe prints any where in my path.
The picture is of the new cabinets where I cut the hole to fit over the new water pipes. That took me a while to get brave enough to cut the hole because I didn't wish to ruin my new cabinets with a mess around the pipes. I will say I am proud of my job so far, but I am far from finished.