An artist remembers
By Diana Shaw
It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. All are sleeping in hoping to recover some energy that was spent during Christmas. The kids and grandkids have all gone home and all is very, very quiet. A mountain of dishes are done, leftovers sent with each group, and now, well, it is time to settle back and count. Yes, count all my blessings, one by one.
On Saturday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter, we were met with a wall of water coming in my studio and bottom kitchen. My wife had just had her chemo treatment earlier in the week which makes her super sensitive to anything cold and that water was very cold. She got on the phone and called for reinforcements and they came with a wet and dry vac plus a carpet cleaner to help get up all the water that seemed to come in from everywhere. The cavalry came from the north and from the east, four in all, and started mopping and sopping. What a way to start off the Christmas holidays. We had a hard time keeping my wife out of the mess. For over 50 years, she has more than pulled her weight in every emergency but this one she had to sit out and it was killing her not to be in the middle of things.
This caused me to remember 50 years ago. We had been to our parents homes for Christmas and came back to our college apartment. They called them “the barracks.” They were war-salvaged, long structures that were for temporary use during World War II. Anyhow, I opened the door to our unit, stepped inside and then was immediately airborne as I slid through the room. These living units were not the best in the world. Our water was part of the rent because it was a central unit for all four apartments. The water pipes hadn’t frozen but our drainpipe had and the sinks were full of frozen water. Because of a faucet drip, a waterfall and a frozen floor of ice were waiting.
As you can see, Christmas and water problems have been with us for a long history. The heater in this apartment didn’t have a thermostat so you had to turn it up or down by hand all the time. That is another reason everything froze, the heat couldn’t be left on when we left town.
So, it is 50 Christmases later and so many blessings, two grown sons, four grown grandkids and even a great-grandchild. If we did count our blessings, one by one, I think it would really take us a year, 24 hours a day, to list the really important ones. I am saying that according to my chart of blessings, we have been blessed and blessed and blessed.
This coming year I hope to contribute to others blessings and help them as I have been helped. This December, the London Visual Arts Guild has started a new art program at the Madison County Correctional Facility. We still teach art throughout the community but this is a new part of our outreach program. The London Visual Arts Guild has a small gallery downtown London with a teaching facility attached to it. I am very happy to be a participant in the Guild’s active programs and hope that more people will benefit from all that is offered in our community.
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