2012 09 02 I made Jan a logo, in FreeHand. So far though, for a combination of reasons, we haven’t used it much.
2015 03 20 Jan did such a nice thing last evening, so nice, I may never forget it:
We had dinner, fine. We were planning to read a little Tom Wolfe, Man in Full, and also to watch a little Boyhood. I heard her call me. Now, is she summoning me to the sofa across from the fire place where we read, or to our entertainment center with DVD player by the bedroom TV? Something was funny: she seemed to be calling from the dining room. Sure enough, there she was, presiding over a modest but entirely charming desert. It’s Race Week here in Sebring. Yesterday we watched the race cars gather at the Sebring Circle. Jan had divided an ice cream sandwich into halves, placed each half in a cut crystal bowl (good fit), and marked each with a checkered flag on a toothpick!
I’ve been in Sebring for twenty-six years. Till I met Jan I’d never attended the races. Now we do something for Race Week every year.
And she dresses us up for Mardi Gras, for Halloween, for St. Patrick’s Day … But last night her little race desert had me choking up.
Speaking of doing things special, very special:
Fine Art Vestments
2013 04 04 The other day I walked into Jan’s house, looked around, didn’t find her: finally I heard the murmur of her sewing machine, in the middle bedroom. I went and stood at her side. Couldn’t figure out what she was working on, totally absorbed apparently, waiting for her to acknowledge my standing by her shoulder, so I could squeeze her, pinch her, kiss her. My patience seemed to last and last, as her absorption was lasting: eventually I touched her shoulder: and she jumped, gasping.
I just wore what she was working on, God bless her: a mid-calf length night shirt with a pocket at the left breast: soft, soft cotton, perfect fit, a blend of colors and patterns to weep at the sight of: the pocket matching the bottom skirting. 2017 02 02 That night shirt remained my favorite garment ever for a long time, but finally the upper back was disintegrating. Well, she knew how much I loved it: the next thing I know she’s replaced the shirt part, transferred the pocket, transferred the trim at the hem. Now I don’t doubt it will outlast me!
Last night Jan reminded me of something precious. We were watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at my house. The six brides are mooning around the bunk room, then they dance, each bottom as pert and precious as the one before. Jan exclaimed at the girls’ tiny waists: reminded me, she used to have a twenty-four inch waist herself! Twenty-four inches! She’s 85 1/2 now, hard to believe but she’s still utterly cute.
It’s so beautiful, it reminds me of Matisse. I was aiming to illustrate with vestments by Matisse for his friend, the nun’s chapel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapelle_du_Rosaire_de_Vence); but select some Matisse vested figures.
I made my first custom night shirt twenty five years ago. The last few years Jan has filled my closets with pocket night shirts. Brief history: since the 1980s, in Florida, I live in pocket tee shirts. Commonly I sleep in a pocket tee shirt. Write, write, writing, I work at home, commonly wearing whatever I slept in, till I have to go out for some reason. If I’m just throwing a tea bag into the trash just outside the door I may risk no one seeing me: a foolish gamble: people have been evicted from this park for nakedness while inside their own dwelling! depends on this year’s landlord. and this year’s whim. I eventually contacted a tailor. She told me to select a material, buy so many yards of it, and leave it to her. I still wear that night shirt. But Jan has added choices: all creative, all really neat.
It turned out what she was sewing the other day was a pair of new ones. The black beauty she made for me a few years ago from a black tee shirt with digital design logos, lengthened toward the floor, winter sleep wear, was so frayed around the collor, the shirt it’s built on from the mid-1990s, she told me to throw it out, she’d make one new. The other night I debuted a beauty, soft cotton, perfect fit, all white. I couldn’t have been happier: until I saw the other new one! the one I just wore! I’ve never had a more gorgeous garment.
2016 03 10 Last night, a rarey, I was asleep before Jan came to bed. This morning, just as rare, she was up and on the phone before I realized that she wasn’t coming back, that the bed was cooling and was gonna keep cooling, that an express train had roared right past my beloved morning hugs. So now we’re both in the kitchen, she for a change has put on the coffee, it’s already half brewed: I envelop her from behind as I take my first sip of the coffee, godbless drip-resistant pots, and I realize: she’s just called me Scott!
Scott is her son, aged fifty-something; I’m Paul. I’ve been Paul on her tongue since 2008, mid-October: when we met, when we danced our first New York lindy. She can call me Scott all she wants, it didn’t bother me at all: but we’re all well aware of the dread some people feel that Bob, married to Jill, who used to go with Alice, will one night in bed with Jill, in ecstasy, will murmur, “Oh, Alice”.
At some point in that early hour Jan asked aloud where the second duck-pair decoy had gone. I decorate her waterfront with water sculpture: first, there’s her sail boat, swinging at anchor; then there’s a duck decoy, a pair of wooden ducks in profile, bobbing in the breeze. So where was the second decoy: another pair in profile? Each day for a week I’ve reminded her that until I bring an extra mushroom anchor from my house for the second pair, my knots are temporary, and must be checked. Each time I check thus far the temporary knots are half-untied: 24/7 wind, tide, etc. “On the other hand”, I’ve assured her, “if one drits off, we’ll find it, fetch it back. It’s a small lake, the wind is typically in-shore, not blowing out. The boat, the ducks, anything is likely to beach back against the primrose willow before going far.
I finish a second cuppa, put on my lake-gardening clothes and carry the kayak paddle down to the kayak. A tiny shove jets the kayak into the wind: xzoom, mid-lakeward it squirts. I hook it back, settle aboard, and sure enough: the wind carries me straight out, offshore, then begins sweeping me back shoreward: and there, in the primrose willow, a bit to the north, trailing its tether, is the second duck-pair. Rescued.
So Jan and I remain on the bench under the jasmine trellis, enjoying the hell out of her yard, and Jan says, “You know when I call Scott “Paul” he gets furious.”
I’ll bet he does.
Well, the mushroom anchor is in my car awaiting transport. By tomorrow all the ducks will be anchored with bowline knots. Those knots will never fail.
Jan has a number of wooden yard gimcracks: little statues that swivel, mill in the wind, painted figures chop wood, pick flowers … The same woodworker just freshened all the wood parts: primitive in the best sense.
The bowline knot on the mushroom anchor did fail, or was about to. I untied it deliberately, will consider replacing the line. I notice wild ducks, migrating ducks visit the decoys even when the decoys are ashore, not afloat!
The sail boat was left in the water last summer when Jan went north to Nova Scotia. I just towed it into a swampy cove. By the time Jan came home again the minifish hull was saturated with muck water and thickly mildewed. I suspect it may never be boyant again, isn’t worth replacing the torn sails for. But it’s still great hard sculpture! Maybe we’ll beach it and use the cockpit as a planter. The ducks can still keep it company.
Btw the mansion across the lake, on the west short, has proved to be very nice: nicer actually than the “wilderness” appearance the shore had before construction began. The horse barn and paddock are beautiful, as is the mansion itself, as is the boat house and dock, as is the huge garage.