Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Outsider Art Jesus
I Just Want Peace
(c)2006, Singleton

Sold, Private Collection 2006

If You Could Just Let Go ~
I Can't Take It Anymore

(c)2006, Singleton
Sold, Private Collection

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mother Mary,
May I?

And the answer,
sweet child,
is yes

(C) 2006, Singleton


God Bless the spirit of our southern soles....
and the Souls of our Southern Spirits...
Now I am Joe
It wasn't long ago that everytime I walked out my kitchen door, I found Joe there. Leaning up against his truck ...smoking a cigarette, gazing at the skies, smiling at the world I lived in. I would pull in my drive way, harried from the commute home and there he would stand, smiling. I know he didn't stand there all day, he created hundreds of thousands of projects in the 12 years I knew him, he just always KNEW to be there when I came and left. He was my friend. And partner in an abstract way. His beautiful wife Peggy, always an effervescent presence in our aura, allowing us to bond with pencils, paint, concrete, clay and dreams. Together we poured wishing ponds, built fantasy boards, sketched a thousand "idears" as he called them. He drew endlessly. Awakened by sirens in the night, or friendly dogs howling at the moon, I would find him on the porch...smoking, clip board and pencil in hand, sketching out his thoughts. I cannot even begin to guess how many portraits, cartoons, random thoughts he penciled on that porch, but he saved them all. Less the few very chosen ones he shared. A christmas present. A gift to the waitress at the breakfast bar. A comission here and there.

In December Joe passed away. In a simple sort of way. There was no wake, no funeral, no fancy yancy obituary. In passing, as he he had in life, he preferred peace. No parades to rain on. He simply moved on. But not before he shredded all his artwork. Methodically running it through the electric blender of days gone by. What he had shared in life was a gift you could keep forever, what he had not, was his secret. He would take it with him.

I was blessed. I have a portrait of my child, an abstract of Ringo Starr, Barishnikov (pardon the spelling) dancing on my living room walls. Joe's take on my world and his gifts to me. When he left us, I have to admit, I felt some abandonement that he didn't leave us his treasure box to plunder through, to pilfer through, to grab at, to snatch some part of Joe to hold closer to our hearts. We were left holding only what he had given us in life....the greatest gift of all....his friendship, and a few momentos to confirm that, in fact, we had been friends.

But I was wrong. Not long ago Peggy fetched me his stash. A stack of cardboard. The backings to every drawing pad he had ever graced. They had been salvaged, saved, stacked neatly in his closet. Waiting for the moment. And I knew then, what I know now...may the circle be unbroken.

This one's for you Joe!

The bluest eyes. Eyes the color of a perfect sky. That is where I will begin and end. With those blue eyes…..that danced in laughter at the absurdities that life blessed her with…an everyday life chocked full of calamities…. Teetering ladders, lost keys, speeding tickets, broken arms. Those blue eyes that sparkled with childlike delight at the magical moments….Caitlin’s first sentence,(A VERY, VERY LONG ONE!) That first date with Pat: plodding along in the pick up truck to a rodeo, and then their first kiss… Logan’s first birthday party. Those blue eyes that fought tears at every turn of this latest journey , too strong to weep, but glistening from the struggle. Those blue eyes, a reflecting pond that took in every sad story, and bad luck tale we could spin and then said simply…. “well, how can we fix this?” Those blue eyes that could lock onto your own and see into your very soul. Because she was your friend. And she knew.

In life, she dished out gifts many of us never expected… And in heaven, through those magnificent blue eyes, she will watch us carefully, making sure we have paid close attention, taken notes, recognized the significance of her gifts. Not long ago she and I were going to make a list of important thoughts, important things to remember, important things to do. We never got around to that list. But she trusted me on this one. And I don’t want to let her down. I am the keeper of diaries, the recorder of words…and I pray, Nadine, I’ve included what you want me to… and for those thoughts I’ve forgotten, or neglected, please forgive me.

These are her words….

“We have to ask Michael”
“Tell Sue”
“Gayle will do it”
“He calls me baby girl”
“Watch after Caitlin”
“Logan will be o.k., Timi will help his Dad”
“I‘m waiting on news from Erin”
“Lynn, she always laughs, even now she makes me laugh”
“That was my Mommie’s ”
“ Eddie will fix it”
“Mitch, yeah, he’s my buddy”
“We have to make it like a memory”
“ We’re going to the mountains, and taking all the kids”
“Logan’s not afraid of the roller coaster”
“We always make Eileen’s beach spaghetti”
“ It’s from Larry, he loves me”
“Please thank all these people”
“ Kevin?”
“Write it down for Caitlin”
“We’re flying to Connecticut”
“I need Mike Sweeney’s phone number, write it everywhere”
“I’ve had a good life”
“ You’re just a fairytaler”
“This was Andy’s, make sure you tell Logan”
“Caitlin needs to get a safety deposit box”
“Dr. Krauklis, he always took care of us, didn‘t he?”
“I love you”
“I need to rest now”
“We’d sit for hours just talking, I think he was my friend as much as Caitlin’s”
“When we have the party”
“Give me a hug Dr. Kramer”
“Pat is a good father”
“I just love motorcycles”
“Remember, I bought it at the auction with you and Skip ”
“Toni, she never changes”
“Dr. Rothman, he did that for me”
“Make sure Gayle takes the frogs to remember me by forever”
“You have to write it down; you should always have pen and paper”
“Pat, could you get him some clothes that fit him?”
“Tell Karen thank you, you know, about the cinch bugs”
“Could you check on the office?”
“Her grandfather loves her dearly”
“Sue knows where it is”
“He’s a good kid”
“I miss Caitlin already”
“She just hugs everybody. That’s what she does”
“I wish they could stay here with me forever”
“Fred won’t let me call him Dr. Pearl”
“Angie will pick it up”
“Irene did it, she told them to just stop it”
“Gayle, what are we having for dinner?”
“ Did I tell you Larry proposed to me?”
“We should have called Belinda”
“Fred, that man is a Saint”
“ Mary Ann”
“You always said his name wrong, it’s pronounced Burman”
“Is today the wedding?”
“I might move to Tennessee”
“Have your read Wally Lamb’s book?” I can’t remember the name of it, but I’ll tell you the story”
“I never knew I had so many friends”
“Buy Andrea a camera, she needs to take pictures of the baby”
“Sue, is that you?”
“ Bonnie was here with me, all day yesterday“
“What is Logan doing? Spelling out I love you with his hands?”
“Have you seen my all my cards?”
“I don’t want them to be alone”
“Did I ever tell you about the porpoises?”
“ Mike Hardin called me”
“ I don’t believe in that”
“He needs a haircut, Pat”
“ Tell Kenny he needs to pick up his mail, this is important stuff”
“Tammy is going to bring me Sonic”
“Kevin will carry me”
“Call Michael, he will say it’ s o.k.”
“ She needs new tires”
“I’ve loved you for a million years”
“What was your grandfather’s name?”

And these are our words….

“She’s’ the strongest woman I’ve ever known”
“She’s my best friend”
“that’s Mom”
“I love you, baby girl”
“I promise”
“Mom, you were hot!”
“it’s okay”
“Hey, sis”
“You will never walk alone”

Somehow Nadine has prepared us all for this day, this moment. She has spent a lifetime raising her children, her family, her friends to BE STRONG. She knew far more than all of us, what the heavens would present us with. And today, we are here, all of us…the circle unbroken. Because WE ARE strong…and those blue eyes, the color of a perfect sky …. are smiling on us.

For my precious Nadine, October 2005