October 18,2019
CROTCH BITING BLUE and the Macramé Gang


excerpt from

Ash Fork Madness©️

written by

Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison

copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison


                CROTCH BITING BLUE

               and the Macramé Gang

Blue, a guard dog, was hired by a succession of Phoenix industrial companies. He did his job well, but due to having an aversion to men he had become known as Crotch Biting Blue. His appointments never lasted long because ultimately he bit the good guys. After a particularly scandalous attack he was given to quarry owner, Howard Grey Sr., who spirited Blue out to a remote location south of Ash Fork, to assume duties once more as guard dog over heavy equipment. However, due to the nature of the beast, it was not long before Blue went for a doodler’s castanets and found himself fired again, and about to be fired upon.
Lorraine was a Good Samaritan and dog lover, who had rescued and adopted Susie, a stone yard stray Black Lab, saving her from a similar fate. When Lorraine heard of the impending execution of Blue she jumped into her snow plow accessorized, pick-up truck, and drove out to Howard Grey’s quarries. Upon her arrival she was confronted by the sight of Blue chained to a loader, lunging and snapping at an armed quarry worker’s nether regions. She stomped over to the men present, chastised them for scaring the poor brute, and then dragged Blue back to her truck, chain and all.
Lorraine had a magic touch with Blue and he willingly accepted her dominance — even after his “operation.” He grudgingly accepted Susie and her puppies, and the two imperious cats, but no other beings on the planet, above all G.B. and Shirley.
G.B. disliked dogs and all dogs hated G.B. at first sight. Maybe he exuded an aroma of arrogance, or maybe it was fear. When he was in the quarries, walking through town or at the stone yard, G.B. was accustomed to being attacked by dogs at large and was oblivious to the fact that dogs were forever furtively stalking him.
Blue was G.B.’s sworn enemy from their many encounters in Howard’s quarry. When Blue moved in with Lorraine, who occupied one of G.B.’s rental houses, Blue and G.B. declared war on each other — Blue having the upper paw. So great was his dominance over G.B. that while attending one of Howard Grey’s “Goat Roasts”, G.B. sat stock still and silent as Blue, having escaped the confines of Lorraine’s pick-up cab, swaggered over to him, gave him a rude sniff, cleaned off every morsel on G.B.’s plate, before moving down the line of guests.
Blue looked like an industrial size pit bull, with the coloring of a speckled grey Australian sheepdog. He weighed well over one hundred pounds and broke every tether hung around his thick neck. All the residents of Ash Fork, Catholics and heathens alike, crossed themselves and said a little prayer each time they walked past “his” property.
Lorraine, a master of macramé, offered to teach the craft in her house two nights a week as a much needed diversion for the locals. Shirley was eager to join as she had a jungle of house plants and longed for plant hangers. Although I was not a macramé person, and tying precise knots was not my forte, I did want to partake in the sociability of the Macramé Gang. I wheedled loose a few hours a week away from G.B., and attended the first class on a sweet summer evening. My first project was a six foot by ten foot, elaborately fringed hammock, and I chose a complex pattern to hide errors and chocolate brown cord to hide grubby hand marks and spilt Pepsi.

As usual, Shirley was late. We were all waiting for her to arrive, watching at the window with our noses pressed up against the glass, when Shirley pulled up, stepped out of her car and spotted Blue dragging his chain and heading in her direction. At the appearance of the huge snarling beast, Shirley, squawking flapping and screeching at Lorraine to control the beast, scrambled back into her car.
Shirley’s fear was warranted for Blue hated her. Later that evening she returned well armed, and at each subsequent class, every time Blue managed to nudge his way out of the kitchen, feathers flew and raucous screams of laughter issued forth from the Macramé Gang as the Shirley-Bird attempted to take flight onto the table in order to escape the horrendous hound.
During our classes we caught up on gossip, updated our Avon with Eva and watched with amusement through the screen door as G.B. slowly cruised by the house every fifteen minutes.
One evening as we diligently attempted to master knots, I mentioned off handedly that Nana was coming for a visit. She was looking forward to joining the Gang and showing us her latest belly-dance costume. My words lit everyone’s fuse and the Blonde lifted off with an idea.
Several weeks later, Nana and I arrived at Lorraine’s house armed with George Abdo and his Flames of Araby music and zills. The Gang was waiting for us clad in gauze shawls, silk scarves and harem pants made from curtains. Within minutes Lorraine’s house was transformed into a desert seraglio where the macramé students became privy to the mysteries of the Middle East.
That evening as G.B. rounded the corner of Lorraine’s house, he was accosted by the sound of laughter, music and song. He could recognize Willie Nelson played on a jukebox, but not what he was hearing through Lorraine’s screen door. He swerved onto the sidewalk, parked in front of the house and watched in bewilderment as silhouettes of “hootchie-kootchie” dancers undulated across the drapes, while Blue, guarding his Harem, sang harmony.

Posted by Charlotte Madison at 07:40
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April, 2020
March, 2020
February, 2020
January, 2020
For over forty years, painting related totally to the American Southwest. It was people of the dry hot desert, solid mesas, cacti, stone and canyons that made my heart leap.

When I realized I would never see the desert again, I began a search for something to paint. Nana suggested, B.C, vineyards and took me to Penticton where I did one painting. Nana and Gary then began to take me on Mystery tours of the island and always included a vineyard. But they all were so green! So many leaves so many trees - I don't do trees and I rarely use green - dont really like looking at green, but I got started on a duty series not an inspired series.

I guess it was July or early August when we were driving home from a winery visit. I was grousing about painting the Festive Flying Grape series when Gary said "Start another series, you can work on more than one at a time."

For some reason those words triggered the words "I could paint the Island artists!" Nana and Gary agreed and it was the topic of conversation all the way home

For a while I was afraid I wouldn't get volunteers to pose but it is rolling and each one offers something special to inspire me. And it is lovely to feel all I am doing was sparked by Gary and like all I do, supported by Nana.

April Update 2012 Sixteen fine artists, many of national repute, have posed for Artists of Vancouver Island and many are booked or promised. There will be no poses after June 30,2012. When I have painted all twenty-five I will turn my thought to . . . what next?