STONE AND CANVAS©️
Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
#45 IT IS PAT!
Shirley slammed into the home office, looked at G.B. and me, and said in an unusually stern tone, “Charle, I just settled Pat back home with oxygen. He’s been in hospital with congestive heart failure. He had problems but it was breathin’ fumes from the damned printed circuits and acids. He’s real sick.” G.B. slammed shut his ledger book, took my hand and headed for the car as Shirley turned to leave.
G.B. was unusually quiet on the trip out to Pat’s house. I did not have any idea what congestive heart failure was and I expected to see him at death’s door but as we both hurried in expecting the worst, we were happy to see him in his bed leaning on numerous pillows slowly breathing oxygen but surprisingly alert.
Margaret was puttering in the huge open area room and as we all spoke softly to each other we gazed through the window by Pat’s bed — an inspirational wall of glass, that looked down to the Arizona valley land below and any passing wildlife Pat loved so well.
The visit soothed all our hearts and while I wondered whether he had done paintings, I certainly was not going to ask. I would know soon enough.
As we rose to leave “Margaret,” G.B. asked “how’s everthang down to Phoenix? Did y’all have a good school year? Are y’all here for the summer?”
Margaret and Pat had a fascinating approach to life. She taught school, maintained their home in Phoenix and reared their children, while Pat came and left in bursts of domesticity. Holiday time Margaret came and left Pat’s current place of interest. They each lived as they wished, yet shared each other’s life and children in marriage.
As we reached the door Pat told G.B. to gather up every rock and any painting he could find in the house and breezeway and take them away. There would be no more. Then he said to me, “Charle I know your work, you love Arizona the plants and rocks, if paintings need a touch up, go ahead and finish ‘em. I trust you.
I was aghast, either he really did trust me or he was much sicker than he looked, because artists are more likely to let a stranger tinker with their teeth than allow anyone to work on their paintings.
We left with ten stone and moss rock paintings including the suggestion to borrow and tag Not For Sale, a beautiful canvas rocks-cape he had given to Lorraine. That left us short 14 canvases as well as the ones I had yet to finish for him and the last once-over on my paintings. Hmmm.
G.B. dropped me off at home and he prepared to take Pat’s work over to the framing studio where I could work on them I was thinking, “I have approximately 6 weeks to design, do and send the invitation list, submit the bio, write a blurb for the newspapers, finish Pat’s pieces touch up some of mine and do fourteen more paintings. I absentmindedly kissed G.B and as I flapped him off, I calculated that would be the equivalent of three per week — every week for six weeks.
I chased the pick-up down the driveway hollering out to G.B. “DON’T LET THE FRAMER LEAVE TOWN!”