The room was so huge, but there wasn’t an empty shelf or wall in sight. The tears in his eyes turned to wonder as his attention bounced around the room at the speed of light. Forgetting the scratch on his finger he lowered his feet to the floor and instantly felt the thick carpet underfoot. The room was full of treasure, books lined the shelves under the windows, paintings so plentiful they seemed to bump into each other, covered the walls, sculptures of stone, bronze, clay and glass were displayed on regal antique furniture. Freshly cut gladiolas in a crystal vase towered next to a silver candelabra on the mantel.
Everything was so perfect, so beautiful, so bountiful, suddenly he felt dizzy as he fumbled back to rest on the bench. The bench sat at the keys of a highly polished black grand piano that smelled of lemon pledge. And just at the moment that he reached to touch the piano’s keys, Mrs. Craig entered the room excited about her bandaid find, she sat down next to him. She was as concerned as a Grandmother and as efficient as a nurse, washing the wound all the while explaining about germs and infections.
Showing respect and pretending to listen, he couldn’t wait till she stopped talking so he could flood the moment with questions.
“Where did you get all this stuff?” no that wouldn’t be a polite question he thought,
“Can I play the piano?” way to eager,
“Did you paint the pictures ?” don’t be silly.
No, No, No, it has to be just right and maybe not a question at all.
“Ok, all better” she said smiling down at him. And at that very moment he blurted out just exactly what she needed to hear.
“I like art” he proudly proclaimed and for the next fifteen years they shared a never ending conversation. On rainy days he learned to play “Blue, Blue, My Love is Blue” on the piano that smelled of lemon pledge.
He would study the books from the shelves as she popped “Jiffy Pop” popcorn just around the corner in the kitchen.
She explained to him the differences of oil paints verses acrylics, and always to take the time to clean your brushes.
Spending countless hours sharing her stories and time she was as important to his upbringing as anyone.
He lived as they say “down the road a piece” often would explain to his Mom it was sooooooo important he had to go talk to Mrs. Craig.
Tonight they ask me to talk about my sculpture “Above the Clouds” and my painting “Four Days Shield” and I spent a couple of hours typing at the computer a long boring story.
I told you the story of Mrs. Craig to let you know how much a little bandaid changed my life. That little boy with a tear in his eye and a scratch on his finger got so much more than a little bandaid. I discovered that we all need each other, my sculpture and painting are my bandaid to be used by Indian Health Care Resource Center for the children’s programs.
Mrs. Craig passed on many years ago and every time I think of her I’m reminded of that day I proclaimed “I like art!”.
Sharing the Journey