Art, Artwork, Christmas Cards, A Manhattan and Decisions Being Made

Last night I went to an art opening in the town I just left behind. No one from that town but the gallery owner seemed to be there. But a nice crowd from here came out to support Wendy and her wonderful paintings of pets.

It was good to see this show of Wendy’s work. She is a member of our very small art group and we had talked about her practice in the past. To see several pieces of someone’s work in a small space was a treat. I had a brief visit with others who came out for the opening, turned down an invitation to join some of them for dinner back here in town. Instead on the way home I decided to stop at a newly opened bar to sit quietly with a Manhattan, wait for an oven baked pizza to arrive and write on some paper sourced by the bartender. It was a nice quiet place to be alone and write. I might do this on a regular basis of maybe once a week. The atmosphere was just right. I am going to take Patrick and Marla there when they come down this week for Thanksgiving.

I met with the funeral director this week. I assured him I was fine, that there was no sadness because that came to us all quite a while back. Back a few years ago when the reality of dementia settled into our lives. He will be contacting a company out in Santa Fe called Parting Stone to have Lee’s remains turned into between 40 and 80 various sized stones.  Amy, Patrick, Marla and I talked about this before and found it perfect for remains. One of Lee’s pleasures was the placement of stones. And the last several years at our old place, he was forever making rows upon rows of stones.

Each of us has places to put Lee’s stones…places that meant something to him. Like in the Rotary Park in the small town we raised the kids in and he was President for a term, like near our old booth at the Renaissance Festival where he covered his shirt and jeans with a monk’s robe so he and the potter next door (who still does the festival) could share peach schnapps to warm up before sales, the cemetery in our small town by the graves of our elderly very dear friends, sitting next to the bourbon bottle when Patrick wants to share a Manhattan with his dad in remembrance, in the drawer with the hot pads so he can be near when cookies are taken out of the oven…..on and on it goes as we think of the places and people he loved most.

They will do the same with my ashes and make sure a couple of stones end up in Australia.

Needless to say, the funeral director who, like all his counterparts, was so ready to offer tissues, list of things to remember about having a final farewell ceremony, all those things they are trained to do. I gave him a copy of my Spirits Bar book so he would have an idea of how we plan on celebrating his passing from now on. Lee will no longer be the one who keeps everyone who has passed (and we invite back for “one more drink”) favorite drink on hand, but be one of our favorite guests, free to join whatever table or barstool he chooses.

I do want to thank so many sending messages and fun memories they had of Lee. Some of you I will get back to because you were so kind to us during the hard time of adjusting but also because it has been so long and your stories made me smile. Thank you.

I finished the Christmas cards…now just the writing messages and mailing them out.

And finally the artwork for friends who were burned out is framed.

And how it looked before going off for framing.

We are all going to their house for dinner this week. I will take this as a new house warming gift and Patrick will take the new table tops he made to replace the one Lee made for a table we gave them that burned up in their house fire, Some of those burned remains were used in my drawing/stitched piece.

There is one more story…I went over to welcome new neighbors to Riverwalk. I heard one was a doctor and the other a physical therapist. They are quite young…early thirties. I took Anzac cookies to give them. They wanted to know which house I lived in so I pointed out their back porch to my back yard and said the one with the Japanese-looking garden. They saw our stone lantern and remembered I said I was from Brasstown. They asked if I had a koi pond there, a shop with an apartment above, was the house all stone? Turns out they saw the house and considered it their dream house. They even saved pictures of it. At the time it was out of their price range but they never got over how much they loved it. I asked if they liked red or white. They said red. And the next day there was a nice thank you note in the mailbox with a promise that we will enjoy several reds over the winter. They have a years lease on the house and I am hoping to see them several times. Isn’t that a great story? Lee would have loved them.

Better get going. I am supposed to go watch a college football game with a neighbor this afternoon. All I know about football is if the socks slip down, it is college and if they stay up, it is the professionals.

Til later…