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Another Day in the Country

A good kind of tired

© Another Day in the Country

It’s a particularly pretty view out onto my enclosed back porch, where the geraniums are blooming wildly and my black-and-white cat sits on her wicker perch, looking out the window.

Let’s face it: This is her domain, and she’s checking the wider world beyond the porch.

All is well. The sun is shining. The neighbors’ dogs are thankfully contained. The hens are busy laying eggs — even when I neglect them for a day. The wind isn’t blowing all that hard, and I’m eating breakfast, thankfully upright after an exciting evening.

It was the annual Artful Eye Show at Centre Elementary for the children in grades three through five — 35 amazing young artists. We filled the gym with their work.

You may hear about it somewhere else in the newspaper. Rowena Plett was there, faithfully taking pictures.

Our gallery was the small gym. Walls and tables were filled with watercolor paintings, pastel masterpieces, and acrylic covered canvasses.

Lest I forget, there were also necklaces fashioned from Sculpey clay and dutifully baked in my oven while I wore a mask and opened the windows of my house for ventilation.

Oh, yes, Bennie and Marie, the pastels! We are still using those pastel sets you bought for the kids years ago. Has it been 10 or 15 years? I got more to supplement, but they weren’t as good, and the children keep gravitating back to the bits and pieces of softer pastels that you so graciously provided.

The show had a train theme. Children made engines and train cars galore. We duplicated them magically and made even more so we could have miniature trains strung all over the walls.

I don’t know exactly where the idea came from — probably trains going through Ramona late at night, whistling away at all the crossings, waking me up.

A mysterious donor, as donors often are, slipped me some money to get “train hats” for the children to take home. It always pleases me that there are people who are eager to invest in giving an event a little something extra.

Just now, as I’m writing, there’s a train going through town, and every toot reminds me of the fun we had at the art show.

You’d have been amazed to see how much beauty 35 children can create in a year — and for the first time ever, every child was present — thanks to the third grade teacher.

It takes Jess and I several days to set up the show and about half an hour to tear it all down — thanks to my extended family and a bunch of folks I’m not related to.

Many hands make light work, and thanks to those many hands, we were home by 8:30.

We unloaded props and leftover supplies we had hauled home in the cab of the truck and then called it a night. The tables and trees in the truck bed could wait until later.

The next morning, when I came out to make breakfast, it seemed as if every table and chair in the house had something stacked on it.

Where can I even sit down to eat, I wondered.

For sure, it wasn’t going to be breakfast in bed, since I already was up and dressed. Then I spied a little antique game table that I have in the living room and said to myself, “Thank goodness there’s one clear spot. That’s where I’ll eat.”

While I ate a frittata and toast, I was remembering highlights of the evening with the kids and their families.

While we were setting up, older students who’d been in art when they were in the lower grades stopped by the gym to check things out.

“Do you need any help?” they’d ask — and we did!

Two of the eighth grade girls checked out artwork of third and fourth graders. The girls put a tag on what they considered a first-place painting in each category.

The show already had been judged, but I decided that if their selection had merit we’d award a second ribbon to every child they selected.

We were pleasantly surprised at how many times they chose the same artwork as the judges, demonstrating that these girls had indeed acquired an artful eye.

High school guys stopped by to give us a hand hanging pictures or hauling stuff, and we reminisced about when they were in art class.

“Are you still drawing?” I always wanted to know.

One fifth grader said to Jess, “When my mom saw my canvass, she was so excited that she almost cried.”

I know that feeling! When I watch kids walking through the crowd — as what we call “walking easels” — I’m so tickled and so grateful to be spending another day in the country with your children!

Last modified May 11, 2022

 

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