June 17th again
My father died when I was sixteen, and twenty-six years later, I am still haunted. And so it is, I believe, with the South since the Civil War. When the wind blows right, I make the trek to the baseball fields in west Nashville where my dad coached hundreds of games. Specifically, I take a moment beside the third base coach?s box, as if it were the site of an historic battlefield. About three times a year, I drive very slowly, sometimes stopping, by the house that was my family?s home for three decades; I glimpse visions here. In remembrance, I go to a particular restaurant on the edge of town to order the country ham breakfast that my father so passionately loved. In a desperate hope to hold on to what we have lost, we create fantastic and symbolic rituals. In loss, we seek a connection, and we sink our teeth and heart in deep to taste as much of that flavored past as possible. The reenactment of Civil War battles is one of the most passionate and visceral displays of this desire to connect and the fight to not forget.
(originally written for an exhibit of works at the Leu Gallery at Belmont University, March 2012)
Today marks the 26th anniversary of the most significant day in my life… today was a good day. The country ham breakfast at Loveless Cafe still satisfies like it did the first time I ordered it. I don’t know if the blackberry preserves are still my favorite, as the peach is so damn good (whole little slices of peaches in there). I got the table in the window at the front… the one in the original side of the restaurant (it’s my favorite seat). I went by my childhood home, and serendipitously ran into the son of the new owner… and, that led to a walk through of the house to see what renovations she (the owner) had undertaken. I shall refrain from saying anything at all about those (as if I don’t have anything nice to say). It was good/weird to be in that sacred space again… just passing through.
Then, I sold a painting that must have been one of the first five that I created from Civil War photos in 2006. It’s Jeb… Jeb Stuart. I was extremely pleased to see it go to a history buff and art advocate.
I completed the piece that is going to Laurence Miller Gallery, and the assembly of the small pieces and the framing went smoothly… after much studying and plotting and visioning. The little pieces are to be sold separately… or, in pairs, trios, or however one would like. I had fun with this. And, if all goes well, my lovely wife and I may go see it at the gallery during our 10th anniversary trip (if NYC beats out the competitors). And, the red leather shoes that I bought myself for Father’s Day arrived… they change the game.