This is Mary’s latest painting which is a brown pelican. Unfortunately, the bright flash of the camera bleaches out some of the color. Seeing it in person is much better. She seems to have the patience to sit there and laboriously put in the fine detail one stroke at a time. She has built up quite a collection of paintings which look a lot better than what I have seen at some of those art festivals. She has painted on just about every type of material imaginable: canvas board, wood, glass, and something that looks like a piece of masonite with one side a bright white. And the paints are just as varied: acrylics and oils and probably some others which I am just not aware of. And what about my artistic talents? The only thing that I can attest to is that I attempted the paint-by-number paint sets when I was very young and grew very frustrated and gave up because I was not able to stay within the lines of the paint-by-number and the finished product looked terrible. I guess that art just wasn’t my forte. I even tried carving wood once, also at a young age. There was a schoolmate who lived up the road and he would take a small twig, strip the bark off and carve little figures out of it. He did a pretty good job of it. I thought to myself, “I can do that.” So I took my cheap hunting knife and started carving when all of a sudden the knife slipped and made a very bad cut on my thumb near its base. Blood flowed forth like a fountain. I started crying and didn’t know what to do. Both of my parents were at work. From out of the house across the street came Mrs. Benson to the rescue. Remember Mrs. Benson? The Mayberry aunt Bee of our town. She came out of her house across to see what had happened to me. The picture of the Benson house was taken from the spot where as a young boy I cut my thumb.
She cleaned the wound and it was a really nasty one and bandaged it for me. And she didn’t get a single drop of blood on her apron which she wore all the time just like aunt Bee. What a sweet woman she really was. Always kind, always gentle, and always helping others. She led a good life and brought a lot of kindness into the world. But that was the end of my wood carving. I gave up the artistic pursuits and went back to my explorations of nature. To follow a stream to see where it went, to climb over a mountain to see what was on the other side (yes, I actually did that and it took me all day), to watch a caterpillar and marvel at its numerous legs as it crawled along a branch. Nature has always fascinated me. Go forth and have a pleasant day. Lew