Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Northern Arboreal Apple-eating Pincushion Sloth (petting not advised)

Outhouse Lady

Photograph courtesy of D. W. Andrus

Just when you think something is over and done with, just when you’re beginning to relax in the belief that you have fixed the problem, stemmed the tide, mended the fence, changed the subject, finalized the divorce, ended the occupation, switched the gears or slain the dragon... your cousin Don surprises you. Well, what ever did I expect, anyway? Don is a wizard too, and – as you must know – wizards never tire of having fun, so why was I surprised to receive a book of poetry entitled, “Muddled Meanderings in an Outhouse?”

You see, my mother was known by many as “The Outhouse Lady.” She was an artist, and her gimmick (the thing that caught the eye of potential buyers of her more serious work) was her display of small outhouse paintings accompanied by a sign which read: Hang an outhouse in your bathroom and count your blessings! $5 She would paint the stand of hollyhocks next to each privy to match the colors of the buyer’s powder room. People loved them, and my mother’s newfound notoriety solved the birthday and Christmas gift-giving problem for all the relatives: They gave my mother’s outhouses to their friends; they gave my mother everything ever produced that immortalized the outhouse.

I thought that part of my life was behind me...

Outhouse Lady (for Don)

She went out back in younger days
The Sears and Roebuck book to read,
Passed some time (if nothing else)
Seated by hollyhocks grown up from seed.

In later years she’d paint that place,
(Not the interior walls as you might assume),
But tiny pictures for five bucks apiece
To hang in modern indoor rooms.

She was dubbed “The Outhouse Lady”
And was known both far and wide;
Her children suffered embarrassment,
As from her fame they tried to hide.

Gifts would come at Christmas
From the painter’s nephews and cousins:
Calendars, puzzles, books of rhyme;

Outhouse pictures by the dozens.

The family bathroom became the repository
For this mounting pile of privy lore,
Until it became so full it was impossible
To use the place for what it was intended for...

What to do?
And where to go?
Asked her desperate kids and spouse -
The solution (thanks to Port-a-potty)
Was a modern out-back house!

Through wind and snow we then took the path
To the new bathroom way out back,
(At least there was Scott tissue
Replacing that damned old almanac).

Years later we lost our privy painter,
And her “collection” was garage-saled away,
The bathroom was clear and clean once more -
‘Till your gift arrived today!

How important the inheritance
Of family lore and memories,
But I must scratch my head and wonder
How this mantle has passed to me?!?!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fitting Together

This was yesterday's photographic challenge: to illustrate "a perfect match" by showing the final piece of a puzzle fitting into place. It is to be used for a print piece my husband is working on. The tricky part was getting the yellow "head" of the dinosaur to float above where it should come to rest when the puzzle "fits together." 'Wish I had a "real" studio instead of my back porch, but this was an entertaining challenge! Cute critter, isn't he?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hollyhock Haiku

Stalks of pink splendor
Standing beside gray fence rails
Beckon bees and me

Sunday, August 20, 2006

But First This News...

Yesterday I received an interesting piece of mail from my hairdresser. It began:

A person can hear,
But a friend listens for the meaning
A person can look,
But a friends sees the heart
A person can know
But a friend understands your path
Thanks for listening, seeing, and understanding!

Okay, so far so good. It then went on to say:

“[We] would like to take this opportunity to announce our success in our criminal trial in Chicago. We were exonerated and found not guilty on all counts, as well as announcing the complete eradication of the cancer that [one of us] was diagnosed with.”

“We will be pursuing civil suits against all of the people who were responsible for this gay hate crime, as well as the Archdiocese of Chicago, the individual police officers who lied and propagated this farce, the Oak Lawn Police Department for false imprisonment, the Oak Lawn Village Hall, and the State’s attorney’s office for malicious prosecution.”

“At this point in time we will be able to finally say Business As Usual and open our doors again regularly at our current location... Thank you for your patience, patronage, and cooperation during the past year and a half.”

Say what??? Am I so far out of the loop that I missed all this??? This guy is a prima dona, and – about a year ago – I went grumping off to another hairdresser because he was always rescheduling me. I hated to do it, because he’s as good as any big city stylist (a rare gem in this rural area filled with hair cutters who went to beauty school and learned the difference between a comb and a pair of scissors...) But is this for real? You have to admit it’s a unique way of saying you’re accepting clients. I think I need a haircut.