there’s a little glory in this world, but not enough. in meditative moments i see
that all i want from this world is to be appreciated; to be loved. i don’t trust
anyone anymore. the line in shakespeare… i think it’s “as you like it”…
“friends whose hearts are false as stairs of sand.”
i just pray that everyone at once doesn’t see the self-delusion i have found to
be the mortar between the clay bricks of my being. it would be mayhem. dear
loving god, don’t let them see the truth. it is unbearable. at the end of a life
of suffering for nothing, you die. that’s all. as the six year old told art
linkletter “you wash dishes for ninety nine years and then you die.”
but to get on with the story of my dearest friend s.
after a fruitless spell on the top of mt. marcy, s. returned to suffolk st..
bobby wasn’t a very good caretaker in those days. he is now. but then he
allowed his friends to trash the storefront.
s. asked, “what happened? i can understand the mess but why did they tear
down the expensive knotty pine walls i had erected?” bobby just shrugged…
and answered nonchalantly, “they had a sort of a… like a scientific interest in
where the pipes and electrical wires went.”
s. couldn’t even stay the night. back on the road. this time to vermont. he had
had it with the city; nothing but trouble and distractions. he hadn’t painted a
single stroke in two years.
bob anderson had built a log cabin in the woods a few miles from woodstock
in vermont. woodstock was a postcard perfect little town with a river running
through it. everything was as well kept as if it was a backdrop for a movie.
there were five art galleries, one grocery store, the vfw,(veterans of foreign
wars) and a movie theatre that showed one movie a week on friday and
anderson arranged for s. to rent the two floors over the “atlantic and pacific
tea company” (the “a&p) a franchise of the food giant but family owned for
decades. it was a general store also. s. had two floors above it for $20 a
and s. had an allowance of $100 a month from his loving father who believed
in him. it was a family tradition to support your children until they reached
the age of 21. s. moved in on his 19th birthday, september 2nd, labor day.
s. had an army cot of wood and canvas. there was a pot bellied stove which
glowed so red that you could light a stick by touching it to the belly when it
was as glowing red as a steel ingot.
put a galvanized bucket on it and you had hot water to bathe with. the
apartment had two marvelous features: an enormous bathroom with a toilet
and a sink of antique marble. and there were three large windows with
wooden shutters; not painted, just varnished. you could see “the corner
cupboard” , the town cafe’, accross the street where the two main town roads crossed; the only
stoplight in town. and there stood the town cop “durfie” was his name. the
whole top floor with three large windows at each end was s’s studio.
we’re all dying… from the moment we are born until the moment that we
disappear. what can we possibly do to make the best of that?
s’s answer was to paint. to dig deep within his mind itself for beauty which he
had no doubt existed; but could he see it? could he express it? and
admittedly, he knew that there was glory in them thar hills. not gold. s. didn’t
care a fig for the gold. as long as he had enough to go on with. and he had
s. began to paint again. he woke up early every morning and painted, or drew
something, anything; just practice practice practice. he developed a structure
of practice which honed his draftsmanship to as fine a ‘t’ as any master’s.
and he continued to read and think and devoured books from the library. he
sucked up every great idea ever put to paper; or papyrus, or lambskin. and
every friday he would go to the movies.
the cool thing about having only one theatre and one movie a week was you
were free of decisions. decisions, decisions. so it was a jerry lewis movie…
o.k. . and the candy girl was the prettiest little protected delight of the whole
experience. she was eighteen and lovely and after a half a year of handing s.
his favorite candy, cherry humps, (three chocolate covered cherries in a row),
she went out with him.
now, s. was encouraged. he had a pretty girlfriend, an art gallery to exibit in
and all the basic necessities of life.
below, “the cherry hump girl”