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Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything
Attributed to Mark Twain
Put two strangers together in
the elevator and, if they speak, it is of the weather. Especially
this year: it is the hottest August in living memory. Hell’s hinges
Weather bulletins warn
folks to stay indoors, and that includes artists and athletes.
Even tough football coaches are practicing plays in
air-conditioned gymnasiums. The cat, Hunter, finds the coolest
part of the shaded concrete walk on the north side of my studio
where he lies on his side all day, lifting his head only to look
at me accusingly for not letting him inside.
Inside is where to be this
August. The average August high temperature in Middle Tennessee
is 89°, but for the first half of this month it averaged more
than 95°. The high on the 4th reached 101°, and the daily heat
index has ranged between 102-109° for the first half of the
month. Unwatered flowers have withered and old maple trees are
beginning to die.
Winston Churchill says we
should plant a garden of paintings in the good times so we can
enjoy them in the bad. They will never need weeding and
their blooms will never fade. Here in a better August is
the view from our veranda.
In this heat, good wife
thought it a fine time to paint our patio chairs, reasoning that the
paint would dry faster. Instead, the paint melted and she suffered a
heart attack. She is recovering and I am enrolled in housekeeping
description of an epiphany is a sudden...perception of
the...meaning of something, or, an illuminating discovery..., a
revealing scene or moment. I have been keeping house for a
sick mate two weeks now. I have experienced an epiphany.
I know now
Why it is better to stand at the counter
and eat while simultaneously preparing dinner.
Why dishes should be rinsed and put in
the dishwasher immediately, rather than allowed to dance
overnight on the counter in the dark, where they breed and
Why wives insist husbands take off their
shoes before walking on carpets after pruning the roses or
on a rainy day.
That spilled coke, dripped watermelon
juice, scattered sugar, or just about everything else calls
for a mop, not just a broom.
That peanut butter and fried egg harden
like superglue if not rinsed immediately.
That sell-by dates mean something
That it is easier to put something back
in its place now than do so later.
That microwaves are not all bad.
That stocking a couple of weeks of
nonperishable inventory and supplies offers an excellent
return on investment.
That dealing with junk mail the moment it
comes is easier than saving it to review later.
That utensils break, light bulbs burn out
and that batteries run down at the worst possible moment.
That container flowers must be watered
daily in August, lest they become memories.
Tea Time – Bill Puryear, Artist
Lessons learnt in KP (Kitchen Police) during
basic training in another hot South Carolina August at Fort Jackson
57 years ago return to help me through. I resolve hereafter to
respect my spouse even for the fulltime, vital, job she does. The
importance of home duties should never be rated below anything else,
for as Sam Johnson once observed, We are all naked till we are
dressed, and hungry till we are fed; and the general’s triumph, and
the scholar’s disputation, end, like the humble labors of the
blacksmith and the plowman, in a dinner or in sleep.
I first met Claudia at the Tennessee State
Beta Club convention in Nashville at the Hermitage Hotel in
1949. We danced, and afterwards talked the night away in the
lobby. The next morning we had breakfast and talked some more.
We never ran out of things to talk about, nor have we to this
Now in a hot August we are locked in together
inside an air conditioned space where I can talk all day and
night with my favored conversational partner. I have, to
paraphrase Thoreau, traveled extensively in our house and
enjoyed every moment of it. There is much to see, paint and
enjoy here. I venture out to bring her fresh roses from the
garden each morning and we are still dancing.
Last Roses – Bill Puryear, Artist