There is so much to write about. The Westminster Dog Show results have been on my mind. Not only because my impression of the finalists, but the flood of childhood memories I was met with as I watched. I PROMISE to touch on Westminster again.
Another set of recollections came flooding back though, as I watched the best of the best trot in front of the judges. Never mind that I disagreed with the eventual choice of winners! I’ll write later, about the dogs…
When I was a kid in Kentucky, like many “All American” kids, I belonged to the Cub Scouts and later, the Boy Scouts. Troop 225. My involvement with the Scouts served as just one of my safe havens as I was growing up.
We camped. We camped A LOT! Many of those excursions involved visiting caves throughout the Kentucky area. And I took pictures. A LOT of pictures. With an OLD hand me down, black and white roll-up film kind of camera. A few years ago, while searching for something else, I came across a couple of terribly faded, extremely fragile black and white photos from one of those cave explorations. “Oh my God…” I thought.
I WISH I could remember the name of the cave. What I recall regarding the legend of this particular cave, is rather vague as well. Funny though. If I close my eyes and think about it, I can still feel the cool, damp atmosphere. I can picture us kids climbing, whipping our flashlights around, splashing in the shallow stream of water which divided the space. I can hear the “shouts” and brief silence as we anticipated the echoes. Ahh well. Back to the topic… As the story went, a famous Civil War officer discovered the cave AND a “secret” 2nd level, while he and his troops were attempting to avoid the enemy (again, forgive me, I don’t recall if it was the Yanks or the Rebs doing the hiding!). Never the less, the area was large enough for horses, cannons, wagons and LOTS of people! Eventually they said, the expansive cavern became a sort of hide-out for raiding parties until the war ended. It did in fact have two “levels”. In order to access the 2nd level, you had to find the “ramp” as it were, located near the very rear of the first level. I remember the opening and ramp being very large. Perhaps the legends were true!
Back to more current times. Staring at the photographs two years ago, my mind wandered as I painted… Cherished memories of my time in the Scouts. I wondered what ever happened to Mr. Baker, our Troop Leader. Certainly he has passed away by now. Heck, he seemed quite elderly to me back in the 60’s! I remember learning how to cook food, in a hole dug into the ground. I remembered earning Merit Badges for Canoeing, Marksmanship, Archery and so on. By the time I left for Nebraska, my “sash” which I proudly wore to the weekly meetings and formal events, was 3/4 full, displaying my achievements.
These paintings, come from the memories that those two 47-year-old photographs afforded me. Buried in these two pieces are the sights and sounds I experienced as a ten-year-old kid. It’s just taken me this long, to “transfer” the recollections from those two old fragile photographs to canvas. When you click on them here the reproductions in “the store” are on the largest size available. Not necessarily because I’d like you to invest in the most expensive piece. You can order the reproductions in any size. It’s because I like them. I like the fact that they represent many of the happier times in Louisville when I was a kid. As I look at them, I can only raise my eyes to the heavens and say, “Thank you Mr. Baker…” (and many others) “…for taking me under your wing so many years ago… I wanted you to know, some of the impressions you made on that ten-year-old kid, stuck with him.”
Thank you everyone, for enduring my ramblings, supporting my art, and most importantly, your friendship.