Thursday, September 6, 2007

Uncle Ralph and the Moonlight Painting


Let me just give you this disclaimer: I am 41, I'm going to be talking about a painting that hung in my grandma's house when I was a child, and since my grandma passed away when I was in sixth grade, it has been a few years and I might get details mixed up. . . don't ya hate having to admit that something from your childhood was "years ago" or worse, "decades ago"??

There are many little things I think I remember about Grandma's house on Cane Run Road, the house where my dad and his four brothers spent most of their childhood. I remember the smell of the backyard because these funny shaped groundcover/weeds were everywhere, sort of like overgrown clovers or midget geranium leaves. There are some in our yard now, but I haven't a clue what they are called. In my mind, I always think of them as those things that grew around the driveway at Grandma and Grandpa's. I remember being fascinated with the laundry chute that ran all the from upstairs to the basement. In fact, I think that laundry chute (or tales of it) have fascinated four generations now. Grandma's brother once tricked my dad and Uncle Major into thinking he was stuck in it...of course, Uncle Major thought he and Pop ought to climb in and go help Uncle Roger get unstuck. Now, Katie is fascinated with that idea! Thank goodness that house isn't in the family anymore, or little "looks like Stanley, acts like Major" would be testing out the laws of gravity via the laundry chute. What else do I remember about Grandma's house? The front porch, being very close to the highway, was off limits unless we asked special permission. Even with permission, we had to walk around from the back door to the front porch. My memories include a lesson from Grandma about the inappropriateness of saying "I hate" anything, including hating to walk around instead of using the front door.

Oh, I remember sliding doors to the bedroom, a huge wood rocking chair with an upholstered seat, and the picture that hung above the television just to the right of the stairwell. Ah, she was beautiful in my eyes. It was a ephemeral scene, full of moonlight and gauzy cloth. It was a print of a young woman with her head turned slightly toward the moonlit sky. Tendrils of hair escaped her updo, and her dress hinted of something angels might wear. I wanted to look like her when I grew up. She was on my mind yesterday as I sculpted the bead in the picture. She springs to mind anytime someone mentions art and beauty, or for that matter, anytime someone mentions teenage boys and lust. Uncle Ralph ended up with that picture, much to my dismay I might add (pout, pout). Know why he liked it when he was growing up? She was rather titillating in her gauzy angel's garb, something a teenage boy might notice more readily than a little girl... you could see her nipples through the dress!

Here's to beauty, wherever you find it!
Peace, Ang

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