Tuesday, June 25, 2019

My Lord, What a Morning

It didn’t really start this morning — more like a month ago.  The phone.  “Karen, would you be willing to read the scriptures at Church one weekend in June?”

Now, at Petersburg Lutheran Church the honor comes with a bonus, you’re also the Communion Assistant, but we’ll get to that later.

Before Church Karen attends Sunday School (held at Colleen’s home next to the church) with a flock of her feminine friends, one of whom, Sally, offered Karen a ride.  Not wanting to delay Sally, Karen stood in front of our house ten minutes early.  Never one famous for her patience, nine minutes later Karen decided she had been forgotten and scuttled off on foot.

Thus, when Sally knocked on our door perhaps a minute or two late Karen had disappeared out of sight.  Off Sally drove figuring she’s pick Karen up along the route.  No Karen.  Fearing she may have fallen into a ditch, a most distressed Sally soon arrived at Sunday School, a distress she conveyed to Karen.  Minutes later with Karen now feeling remorseful and a bit rattled for causing Sally to worry, Susan set her cup of coffee down next to Karen as Karen removed her sweater.  Alas, a law of physics prevailed.  Two objects cannot occupy the same space simultaneously, namely Karen’s fast-moving hand and the coffee cup.  Yes, the coffee ended up all over Karen’s pants and the floor.

With only les femmes present Colleen suggested they had time to wash the pants during the Sunday School lesson.  Off they came and into the laundry room where Karen grabbed stain remover with which she doused her pants.  Editors note:  It might have been best if Karen had not removed her glasses when she took off her sweater.  After spraying the coffee stains she realized the bottle of Shout Out for Clothes was still on the shelf.  For the record, we now know that carpet stain remover can be substituted for clothes stain remover.

Also, for the record, Karen became the first woman in our Church known to participate in a Sunday School lesson pants/dress-free.  The clothes had about dried as the lesson ended and Colleen’s clock read 10:00 — remember she was the scripture reader this morning and that comes very very early in the 10:00 service.

That’s when Karen decided she’d better get her sweater back on.  Of course that’s also when the zipper of the sweater snagged on her blouse.  That’s also when the bells pealed to signal the start of the service.  Now Karen was due on site in minutes as she sat clad in her lingerie with her pants in the dryer and her sweater and blouse badly intertwined while hung up high on her chest.

A breathless wide-eyed Karen dashed into Church barely in time to read the Scriptures, but not before announcing to the entire congregation that they were lucky she had her pants on.  

Still rattled she had to face Communion.  Her job — hold two cups, one filled with wine, the second, grape juice.  Now behind her when she served Communion were just two steps and her final duty was to mount those two steps and put the two vessels back on the altar.  Just two steps.  Only two.  She cleared one.  The grape juice flew onto the rug.  The wine into her face, onto her blouse and into the Baptismal font positioned at the top of the steps.  From my pew seat it looked like Karen was Baptizing herself as she washed wine out of her eyes with water from the font.

Finally Pastor Eric communed Karen.  He handed her a wafer to dip into what little wine remained.  She just ate it.  He tried again.  She just ate it.  Ah well, there will be Communion next week.

At the end of the service I couldn’t help but notice when I turned to the closing hymn, I first alighted on the preceding hymn:  My Lord, What a Morning.  We should have sung that one.  I gave Karen a ride home.

                    Courting Days   18 x 24 inches   Alkyd on Canvas

This is an older painting I did of Karen of another memorable morning, OK maybe it was an afternoon, but it was one of those days that sent my heart racing as I fell in love with this gentle lass.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Never Again

Never again! That’s what Karen said two years ago. I echoed her statement with two, no three, exclamation points. The fundraiser for WAVE, Working Against Violence for Everyone — a local non-profit — is a gala event for attendees with alcoholic beverages flowing freely along with a plentiful assortment of delicacies for the most discriminating palates.

However, the main attraction is the artwork, creations by artists mostly on a 22 X 30 inch sheet of watercolor paper to be cut up and sold by the square inch.  Supporter/patrons chosen by random numbers circulate around the artwork with various sized mat boards.  Each searches for the perfect layout they would like to see cut out of the artist’s creation to take home at the hefty price of $1.00 per square inch.  

I’ve suffered mightily in past years.   I offered pieces I composed with obvious (to me) complete compositions that anyone could see — just put your mat board around the central parts and viola. They got decimated.   Karen always painted discrete paintings surrounded by white borders.  They always survived.

This year I decided to adopt Karen’s tactic — sort of, neither one of us figuring on one little girl whose mother must have said “you can chose one little piece.  Take this tiny mat board and have fun.”  Alas, this juvenile art collector ended up being one of the first “art patrons” chosen to choose and she honed in on Karen’s and my artwork.

                   Karen's     You Are So Dear to me     Watercolor/Acrylic

Back and forth she darted between the two.  Again and again — so fast she’s obviously a future candidate for an Olympic track medal.  Karen’s largest painting of bears or one my paintings of a bear with gnomes on it’s back was going to get destroyed with hours and hours of work spent on the rest of the painting laid to waste.  We were miserable as we watched her dash back and forth between the pieces.  Oh, the agony, the pain.  In the end…the gnomes were chosen to be plucked off the back of the bear.

                    Don's     Gnome Fishing Strategies      Alkyd    
The gnomes would have been excised from the back of the bear.  

But then, an angel.  His name, Richard.  We had never met him before this event but he sat across from us at our table and saw our angst.  Richard likes gnomes and when his turn came he did the unimaginable.  He selected another of my gnome and bear paintings for himself plus….he purchased the entire gnome and bear painting the girl wanted part of so she could have the whole undefiled thing.  My painting survived because of the generosity of Richard, my hero.

In the end my four gnome paintings sold, as did Karen's eclectic selection of four paintings.  Karen was so enamored with her own largest offering she sat on the edge of her seat dreading seeing it cut up or cut out -- until it was her turn to chose what artwork she wanted.  It now resides on our living room wall.

        Karen's    When You're Done I Have a Question    Watercolor/Acrylic
                               Now part of our own art collection.     

                              Don's    A Beary Big Problem     Alkyd

Two years from now we will receive another request.  Would you be willing?  If I breakdown and say yes, which I am vowing never to do again, but if I do which I won’t, the subject will be….blotches of unused paint from every painting I work on for months — a totally indescribable abstract — blotches of color that should never ever ever ever be placed within the same room of each other.  Then, after that maybe WAVE will strike my name from their contact list. 

           Karen's    Are You Sure That Was Decaf?    Watercolor/Acrylic

                           Don's    Waiting For Some Action    Alkyd

                            Karen's      Bird Grains      Watercolor/Acrylic

                Don's    A Gnome Family Outing On The River    Alkyd  
This piece didn't fare so well with the top of the mountains and one deer perishing when they were cut out of the painting.