Monday, March 6, 2017


At the tender age of 76 the event still haunts me. 

The last game of the season — Manoa School vs our arch rival.  Our team behind by a scant point. The ball poised a mere foot from the goal line.  4th down.  Barely time for one last play and our place in history.  The quarterback called a never-miss play.  Cliff — I forgot his last name although I think it began with a Ke. — would make an easy end run.  No sweat and we would be the never-to-be-forgotten champions.

Then, from an obscure corner of the huddle, the fullback, an insecure 11-year-old, squeaked “let me take it this time.  I’ve never scored a touchdown.”

The perfect snap put the ball squarely in my arms and I plunged headlong towards the ragged wall of sweating players.  Glory lay inches away that golden autumn day.

Today I can still feel the sensation.  So intent in crossing that goal line I forgot one essential item.  Rather than tackling me, that opposing guard simply plucked the ball out of my arms as easy as picking a dandelion from a lawn.  I tackled him, the buzzer sounded and the game ended.  A would-be hero instantly turned into a goat.

I was reminded of that traumatic day this winter. 

I have had paintings accepted and shown in the first two National Weather Center Biennial competitions — an international arts event in Norman, Oklahoma.  One painting even ended up on a page in Southwest Art magazine.  I felt I made up for that missed touchdown twice and was poised for a third.  I entered three paintings in this year’s contest.   My favorite was “Cold,” a portrait of Karen I painted specifically for this competition.  Karen had taken a selfie of herself at the end of a snowstorm and this one seemed ripe for the contest.  Karen documents her life by taking occasional selfies and I love how they reveal her personality in such an unassuming way.  

                                      Cold   12 x 16 inches   Alkyd on Canvas

The email of acceptance came in mid-November.  The congratulatory message came with a simple message, “further information will be coming soon.”  That’s all.  “When is soon?,” I wondered.

One thing my parents impressed upon me was the old adage “patience is a virtue.”  Maybe, when used judiciously! 

Every day I patiently waited for that message.  I waded through volumes of filtered junk mail — an uncanny amount due to several lowly spammers, pre-Christmas offers, political stuff — over 200 per day.  Nada.  I knew the event was scheduled for Earth Day.  Be patient!

Finally, in mid-January, I decided I had better inquire.  No response.  A week later, another email netted an answer.  “Sorry, you missed a December 31 deadline to send us another copy of your painting.  You’re out of the show.  We sent you several emails.” 

I'm not so sure, but if that’s true, my favorite guess as to what happened is they did indeed send me emails.  However when the show curator typed a message popped up that I often get when forwarding something to myself.  “Did you mean”  A simple yes would have sent the notifications to who knows where, but certainly not me.  Other explanations seem equally plausible, but i vote for this one.

I could be wrong, but one thing I know.  Patience is best tempered with reason.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I’m against competitive sports until children are emotionally mature.  Our society pays too much attention to the heroes, but what about the goats?  As for me, I’m still waiting to reach that level of maturation.