STONE AND CANVAS©️
Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
“Charle, how many paintin’s y’all needin’ to frame?” G.B. and I were stretched out, he on his “sofa” and I on my chesterfield.
“Well,” I replied, “twenty-five in all. With Pat’s twenty-five we’ll have the fifty required, then he can add as many moss rock paintings as he wants and I may do a few stone ones on patio.”
“I know all that.” He snapped impatiently. “What I need to know is how many frames y’all a-gonna need! An’ what do those thangs cost?”
“Well, I framed the Quarry Girls in oak and suede and that cost two hundred, ten dollars at the gallery in Flagstaff.”
“GOD DAM ALMIGHTY CHARLE! FER A PICTURE FRAME WITH NO PICTURE IN IT? AN’ Y’ALL’RE TALKIN’ ‘BOUT TWENTY-FIVE A THE DANGED THANGS?”
He rose up on one elbow to stare at me and take in some deep breaths.
“Y’ALL KNOW WHAT THAT’LL COST ME?” He did not need a calculator for that one, adrenalin multiplied it for him. “My God Charle,” he gasped, lacking air from his last exhale, “THAT'S FIVE THOUSAND AND FIFTY DOLLARS — plus THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY-ONE CENTS . . .” He gasped for more air, flung himself back on the sofa and added, “TAX!”
“But Honey, that frame was special. When the framer showed me the beautiful oak frame and burnt sienna suede matt, I couldn’t resist. It had a rustic look that went so well with the flagstone and quarry girls.”
G.B.’s eyes bulged out from under his lids as he bellowed, “Y’ALL MEAN TO SAY THAT Y’ALL’D PAY THAT GOOD MONEY FER —RUSTIC? I GOT SOME RENT SHACKS HERE IN TOWN THAT COST ME LESS THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, AN’ IF Y’ALL WANT RUSTIC, Y’ALL CAN TEAR ‘EM DOWN, AN’ MAKE Y’ALL’S OWN GOD — DAMMED — FRAMES!”
“Don’t worry G.B.” I said gently as I slid off the chesterfield and crawled two steps to snuggle against him . The end table lamp shone a harsh light down on his anguished face. I touched his cheek and stared at him, loving him and taking in his agony, then I cuddled close and said, “In Phoenix, big lumber yards sell unpainted ones starting at two dollars and fifty cents each. “Kiss me G.B. . . . .”
He did, then he interrupted the kiss to add with desperation, “But I’d have to take off a day’s work an' burn gas, to go to Phoenix!” He heaved a great sigh, hesitated a moment then added, “I’ll figure out somethin’ fer ye Charle.”