Chainsaws, Hub Caps and Karma

Bob Smith tames the trees

Multitasking as a word doesn’t cover what this day is shaping up to be.  I woke up to a gigantic crashing sound as a fifty foot Douglas Fir hit the driveway.  Then, like bees, guys swarmed around and started cutting limbs with chainsaws.  If you’ve ever seen the show “Inside the Actor’s Studio” there is a question asked by the host near the end of every program of the celebrity being interviewed.  The question is “What is the sound you hate the most?”  As you’ve already guessed this celebrity would have answered “the sound of chain saws in the morning”. Wild Madd Max We’re in the middle of having about ten big trees taken out of our front and back yard.  Don’t worry…we have hundreds…four acres full.  But we decided to remove a few of them when my flower garden started moving out into the driveway by its own power because it was feeling so sun-deprived.  We live like vampires in our dark cabin and need some light to keep us sane and to promote some plants we’d like to try out in our wild garden.  So the falling trees.  What you can’t imagine, especially if you live in the city is what cutting a few trees down really means.  It means moving any fragile possessions that are anywhere near the place where trees will fall as far away as possible.  It means taking down your deer fence.  It means three huge machines (one called Madd Max that I’m in love with)Colorful interior of Madd Max and trucks drive over your lupines and park all over your property.  It means all of your kitties hide in the house in the top part of your closet and huddle there all day.  It means you have all of the left over branches from each tree to pile and burn or if they’re bigger branches but not big enough to sell to rescue and cut for firewood.  It means each day that there is cutting the entire day is unsettled and nerve wracking.


And of course I’m trying to work.  You’d never guess what I’m working on.  I’ve had a lot of strange things that I’ve used for a canvas…a life sized fiberglass cow for the Kows for Kids in Portland, Oregon, lots and lots of old wooden  ironing boards, cups, bowls, chairs and music carts for hospitals but this is the strangest.  I’m painting a hub-cap.  I was contacted by a gallery in Pennsylvania about painting a hub-cap for a project called The Landfill Art Project.  To take a look at it, go to I knew nothing about this project until I was contacted by its director to do a piece for it.  I said yes because any profits from the pieces or the book done from the finished pieces will go to global reforestation.  (I guess to get my karma right with the trees it is no coincidence that I was asked to do this).  I’ve had some mystical experiences with hubcaps in the last four years.  When my mom was beginning to show definite signs of Alzheimer’s disease, she started a collection of hubcaps in her backyard.  There were hubcaps carefully placed in her garden, her front yard, her porch and her garage.  She must have seen that they were shiny and she liked shiny (not unlike myself).  So they continued to multiply until she finally collapsed and ended up in the hospital.  During her weekend in the hospital my daughter and I HAD to find a place where she could be cared for.  She refused to have any help in her huge house, or even to have Meals on Wheels feed her.  She was getting more and more confused each day so we had to find a good place FAST before the hospital just turned her loose on the street.  The hospital had some excellent social workers who totally understood what we were going through.  They gave us a long list of facilities to look at and off we went.  It was a Saturday.  We checked the list and found a few places that looked good to us.  We looked at some and were not happy.  Then we found a listing for St. Anthony Village in Southeast Portland.  It is a non-profit Catholic assisted living and Alzheimer care center near Powell Boulevard.  We got kind of excited because it fit our checklist for everything we were looking for.  We headed down Powell to go and see it.  As we got close to the turn off to St. Anthony, all of a sudden a shiny large hubcap flew right in front of my van window.  Amy and I looked at each other and took it as a sign. Both of us being Catholic we believe in signs and miracles. We went in, were shown around by a very nice caretaker but couldn’t talk to a director or apply until Monday.  We were also told that there were few openings and there was a waiting list.  We left our names and told the director to call us when she got back from her weekend.  Dismayed, we went home.  When we got there we had a call waiting from the director.  She had just happened to go in to work to finish up some project and got our message.  She said we could have the room for my mom.  It was a miracle.  At least that’s how we saw it.


So, the title of my piece, painted on a hub-cap for the Landfill Art Project is “Our Lady of Flying Hubcaps.”  I’ll post a picture when I’m done.  Isn’t life strange? There are no coincidences.


2 thoughts on “Chainsaws, Hub Caps and Karma

  1. Big Scotty

    WOW!!! Mad Max really looks good on you. I’d love to see what an old vehicle with cool character like Max would look like if you went to town on it with your brushes. Can’t wait to see “Our Lady” once it is complete.


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