Sunday, July 11, 2010
My Father's Gift
I have a tendency to work way to hard at things, long after they are quite hopeless. Described in race horse terms, I would be called a "mudder", slogging my way through adversity, even when all evidence pointed to the wisdom of throwing in the towel. As a result, I sit in SW Florida, with some of the most beautiful paintings in the world for sale, in one of the worst economies of recent memory. Many many businesses here have simply collapsed. Now with the uncertainty of the oil spill, real estate has screeched to a complete halt. Times are hard. This week my wine merchant had his air conditioners stolen (two very large compressors) from behind his store...the culprits were caught on tape, the over worked and under financed Sarasota police force didn't feel the theft of the merchant's livelihood was worth coming out to the crime scene. All of this guy's inventory is literally popping its corks in the 100+ heat. (I guess if they were investigating the loss of livelihood they'd have to stop at every other store front up and down the street) We did sell a couple paintings this week, miracle of miracles, and due to the patience of our landlord we manage to stay open. We are looking at additional art markets for a second location and hoping their economies will some how be better. I was sitting in the gallery mulling over "what to do, what to do" , beating my self over the head for not being clever enough to figure it out. I remember my father doing the same thing to himself, when the economic policies during Nixon drove small farmers out of business and we were forced to sell our family farms. Only one of the farms remain, and they raise confinement hogs, something my father would have never had the stomach to do. He took the whole mess of the farm very personally, as did most of our neighbors. One of them hung himself in his barn. Another drank himself to death. Although what was happening around them was neither their fault, nor under their control, they felt like failures. Time and historical perspective of course have absolved them. So I use their experiences as guidance, staring at this painting of Tony Pro's of the lovely Geishas in their imaginary garden and somehow know I will find my way through. I won't hang my self in the barn or drink my self to death. I will simply soldier on trying to figure out the best way forward. I have the wonderful gift of the lessons of my father's pain & history proving him blameless in the whole mess. He also showed me resilience: After we left the farm he went on to a new career as an inventor of farm automation equipment, a merchant in a small store, & in retirement a craftsman restoring old furniture. Tony's painting of the lovely ladies in the garden mesmerize me, remind me impossible things can come to pass (what could be more impossible than Geishas in a garden?). My father would have marveled at Tony's skill as a painter, his craft. I wish he was here to stand with me in front the painting, remind me this time, like all other times, will pass and be something different...and that I will still be obstinant and myself no matter what the circumstance.