I can never just sit and watch television. I watched most of the Daytona 500 while out in the garage, building bird feeders. The Indy 500? I worked on the web site while that was going on. During the Kentucky Derby, I cleaned the garage! Today, I wanted to “get out there” some of my more “unique” pieces, and the thoughts which accompanied each one. The College World Series, taking place here in Omaha is on t.v., and Mississippi State is leading Oregon by one… They said that there is “standing room only” at this game. I hope they have a good crowd when Louisville plays tonight. I’m thankful that the game will be televised!
Manganese, iron oxides, quartz, copper, and other minerals contribute to the rainbow of color in petrified wood. They say “impurities” are what contribute to the variety of color. Yet, how can we condemn such perfection? The attraction to petrified wood, I inherited from my Step-Dad. Though Dad was truly color-blind, he could see the grain and the variety of shades in a piece. I can’t remember, as a youngster, how many miles of creek bed I walked with Dad examining each stone (well, it seemed like miles!). “Does this have any color?” he asked, handing me yet another rock.
On our more “lengthy” trips to places such as Wyoming, Utah, the Dakotas and Montana, we inevitably came home with a spot in the ‘ole Ford wagon, AND storage bins in the camper, loaded down with petrified wood and rocks! Dad built a rock polisher the year I came to Boys Town, so it wasn’t until a few years later that I had the opportunity to see the outcome of those creek-bed walks and western road trips…
My education began at a VERY early age. Dad had the ability to see beyond the face value of things. Where most people saw old, discarded lumber, Dad saw furniture, wooden toys, and more! The only thing I have to compare, is as a child, do you remember lying in a field on your back and “seeing things” in the clouds? Perhaps a train? A frog, a cartoon character? I am thankful that my Dad DID encourage use of the imagination and looking beyond the face value of things…
There was MORE in this slab of stone (above) Dad had given me, than just the head of a bird (below). It took awhile, but once the “Bird in Stone” piece was completed, I continued on, with another painting, inspired by the same chunk of rock. I could only think to call it, “Bird in Stone Continued”.
During the mid-to-late 70’s while I owned the automotive garage, I made numerous trips back to Louisville. Dad invited me down one year to go rabbit hunting. With my Blazer loaded with Dads beagles, a cooler stocked full of lunch meat, bread, candy bars, plenty of ice for the anticipated rabbits, a couple of canteens and an empty backpack, off we’d go to land near Louisville where Dad had been hunting for years. Inevitably, before days end, I found myself walking the river banks and creek beds with Dad, treasure hunting as we had done years prior. It was a great week. We harvested plenty of rabbits, enjoyed working with good hunting dogs, and of course, toting back to his place, a couple of backpacks full of rocks, rusty used railroad spikes, a couple of shed deer horns and an old rusty metal coffee cup!
A couple of days went by, after I returned to Omaha from Louisville, before I unloaded the Blazer. There were things to attend to at the garage, and though it was only around 730 miles back from Dads place, I was tired! When I finally did unload and unpack, tucked neatly away in my duffle bag, was the above slab of rock, which I recreated on paper called, “Flaming Granite”. The note taped to it, in Dads handwriting said; “It has been a good week with you. Love Dad”.
It’s been close to 38 years, since that hunting trip took place, and it will be 13 years, coming up since my StepDad passed away. I don’t have many things that belonged to him; Some of his work-shop tools, a Model 12 16 gauge shotgun, several hunting knives… And tucked neatly away in one of my old footlockers, a rock, with a note taped to it… I guess my message would be this; Make use of the lessons you learn from those close to you. What may seem like every day events, eventually become cherished memories. Though my “real” Dad and Step-Dad are no longer here, when Fathers Day does roll around, they will know that I am eternally grateful for the lessons they bestowed… When I’m gone, and whoever is browsing through the footlockers… To them, it may only be a note and a rock, but to me, it was a great week with my Dad… I wanted these pieces, to somehow reflect that…