Ups and Downs and Peacocks and Poems

This has truly been a week of ups and downs.  First, I crashed my car for the third time in three months.  I thought I was a good driver in snow (!) but it seems that that is not the case. While driving up Canyon Road I  hit an icy spot, spun around and crashed into the side of the hill into a ditch.  Somehow I got the car out of the ditch and made it home in a snowstorm.  This was sad.

Even sadder were the people I lost this week.  First there was J. D. (Jerome David) Salinger, writer and a huge influence on me when I was finding my way through the maze that was high school and college, and confronting my own creativity.  The Catcher in the Rye was a book that helped me finally understand that what I wanted to do with my life was to develop creative skills that could move people the way Salinger did with his words.  His short stories were amazing.  I thank him and will miss him.

“The worst thing that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly.” –J.D. Salinger


The saddest loss this week was of Philip Klindt, owner of Klindt’s Bookstore in The Dalles, Oregon.  When I first moved to the country, isolated in Timber Valley, I felt so alone.  I would do my shopping in The Dalles each week.  Driving down second avenue one day I noticed Klindt’s, right downtown, a great looking bookstore, with an interesting looking  Annex. So I stopped in.  There I met Philip.  He was a wonderful man, an intellectual,  a speaker of many languages, a lover of independent film, a traveler and totally up to date on all new books and magazines.  We talked.  I felt less alone.  He invited me to join his book club.  I did.  Philip lived for fun and company.  He gathered up all lost creative strays and created a type of “salon” right in the middle of The Dalles.  He and his wife, Linda, welcomed anyone with a love of books, antiques, gossip, laughter, the arts, and just life itself.  After Linda died, Philip continued to be a mentor to me.  He will be missed by everyone.   He saved my creative life.  Thank you, Philip

Next, sad but un-preventable, was “The Red Disaster”.  If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I was excited to be showing two red pieces for “The Red Show” at Columbia Arts Gallery in Hood River.  Well, while framing these pieces, something happened to both paintings that has never happened to me before.  There was a lot of warping on the watercolor paper.  Thirty years of experience and I don’t know why the paper warped.  Ron and I tried everything, from the normal ways of flattening to a steam iron.  Nothing worked.  The last I saw of my beautiful paintings was a burst of flames as they whispered their soft goodbyes and were  burned in a firey ritual Ron and I oversaw  in the wood stove.  The ritual  gave me some closure.  I’ll be working on some more pieces similar to the lost ones  because I liked them so much.  Unlike Phillip and J.D. the paintings are replaceable. 

Another sad thing, I’ve had no time this week to draw or paint because I’ve been filling out forms, and writing proposals.  This is work that has to be done, but it makes me crazy sometimes and I feel like my body is going to turn to stone over my keyboard.  Of course the positive side would be if my proposals and forms are accepted and my career will follow a path to the top.  It’s a coin flip.


This week also had some high spots.  On Saturday night we got together with our friends Patty and John from Mosier and our friend Bill from Seattle and watched the old TV series Dallas.  Many of you will remember this “first nightime soap opera”.  When Patty confided to me that she had never seen it,  I was of course appalled!  How could a person live their life without knowing J.R., Pam, Sue Ellen, Cliff Barnes and Miss Ellie!  Soooo…Ron and I have ordered the entire Dallas series from Netflix and all of us are determined to enrich Patty’s life by having Dallas parties every few weeks, Dallas themed dinners, Dallas eye shadow, big hats, big boots, and even some Texas Bourban. Now we’ve all got Dallas fever.  Great company and great fun!

My grandson has been writing out “small moments” in his first grade class and sharing them with family.  Tavish’s Auntie Amy got one the other day in the mail that made us so happy we cried.  He is an exceptional child.

We had a great class at The DallesArt Center last month.  What fun. Painting fruits and hearts…and eating lunch at Burgerville and that Chinese Place on second street.  Great people, great laughs and lots of excellent art produced.  The next class will be on the 27th and 28th of February.  I’ll be teaching how to do one-of a-kind mono types with crayons, pastels, a copper plate and an iron.  Sound interesting?  I’ll post something soon.  For sign up and information call The Dalles Art Center at 541-296-4759.  It’s a crazy class and can be messy so I’m limiting it to eight students. 

I delivered a wonderful commission titled “Yesterday a Child Came Out to Wonder”, to Valerie Hively.  Her daughter Lily looks beautiful in it, peacock costume and all.

Ron and John Maher will have a show together at The Dalles Art Center in July.


Gate C22

by Ellen Bass

At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he’d just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she’d been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching–
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn’t look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after–if she beat you or left you or
you’re lonely now–you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman’s middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.


Pet Milk

(a family poem handed down for generations)

sent in by Sue Martin

Good ol’ Pet Milk,
The best in the land,
Fits right in
The palm of your hand.
No teats to squeeze,
No manure to pitch,
Just punch two holes
In the son of a bitch.


breathing slowly

by Victor Field


on the inside

there are sirens

heavy rains

  that inspire madness or desire

laughter and despair

on the inside wilting flowers can regain vitality

on the inside

rivers make their way in an endless search for the bottom

trees stand upright

in a sunlight that never disappears

children invent games

a thousand rules that make perfect sense

to reach inside

for one’s lucky star

to see out beyond the darkness

with an owl’s eye

to find something worth pursuing

stumbling over the loose edges

hoping to bring back a treasure

bring it back

          to the inside

where thoughts are like comets

minor explosions

as they meet the atmosphere

the inside

where time is invisible

and the eyes are not required in order to see.


Thank you poets.  You help to make our lives more beautiful.

Hint:  Don’t buy the so-called software that will supposedly speed up your slow dial up connection on your computer.  It doesn’t work. I hope to be getting a refund in 5-6 weeks.

Happy Birthday Norman Rockwell. 

2 thoughts on “Ups and Downs and Peacocks and Poems

  1. Sue Martin

    What a wonderful post! Loved the C22 poem! Jerry, I once had a similar wavy paper problem, which I attributed to a bad batch of paper (but not until I had painted several masterpieces on it).

  2. Patty B.

    Thanks for the tribute to Phillip Klindt. He was a lovely man and will be very much missed. We are lucky that his family will continue to operate the bookstore – it is a local treasure.

    My goodness, now the whole world knows I missed Dallas in first run – how will I ever live this down. Thanks for getting me on the right track!

    John Mayer is a young singer/song writer. John Maher is the artist who is very pleased to be showing with Ron in July.


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