The things I learn ...
Rambling about the art of making little magical moments.
A lot has happened in the month of February. My cousin Kayla Raye is working on her second album. I'm on the hook to do some creative stretching and illustrating of her CD cover. A project way out of my norm because of the subject matter. I'm looking forward to it. I just need to get off my hind quarters and get after it.
CoreClarity is producing books and and illustrations for the books. Among other exciting projects. More as it develops and the copyrights allow e to show off. In due time.
The Mr. Cooper Project is coming along in it's own pace. There are actually a few venues interested in providing wall space for The Mr. Cooper Project. The target date is around Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.
Then theres the ongoing "Saving the world one smile at a time" effort. So let's dive into that.Read on and enjoy my adventure.
The other night I had a run of drawing people from the Dominican Republic. I enjoy learning a little about their corner f the world while I draw them. They have such a love of life and are quick witted and full of bright smiles. I can’t think of a group of people that seemed more family oriented, humbled and honest that this small group of Dominicans. The best part is that they all didn’t know each other. It was just one or two members of several different groups of Dominicans. Oh the fun conversations the crowd while I drew smiles and shared laughter. I think it would be fun to go visit the Dominican Republic and see one of my drawings in a local restaurant of one of the folks I drew. I’m certain it would be an awkward, yet good time.
Then there were the kids from Baton Rogue. It’s funny. The volume of Cajuns we get visiting Disney during Mardi Gras. It’s as if the whole state of residences shut down. Put their properties up on AirBNB.com. I’m sure the lucky ones get their Disney trip paid for by doing just that. Renting their places out to out of state guests for Mardi Gras. I say kids, they were just out of high school. So yes, I guess kids. They were both going into the military too. He was going into the Marines,. She was headed into the Air Force. They were so cute and funny with each other. High school sweethearts. Heavens knows whats in their future. I’m just happy I was able to a small part of their time together at Disney before they headed off to their training camps.
I enjoy asking the young newly weds about their future plans together. Or in this case, the high school sweeties about to discover the world miles away from each other. In my mind I quietly imagine the plethora of tragedies that could or will most probably send them both into separate pathways of life. Then a deep inner voice would tell me not to be so negative. They could beat all the odds, “you never know”. This voice of course sounds like my wife, Crystal. Yes, I have a subconscious voice in my head that sounds like my wife. We’ve been married that long. It’s a good thing, I think. “Sure it is” says my inner Crystal voice. “ I’m the best thing thats ever happened to you.”
Indeed she is. I knew that the day I met her. I really became aware of that after one of our more particular, yet wonderful dates. This story of course is one of the stories I love to share with young loving couples like my new friends from Baton Rogue. Of course by sharing stories like this one, I seem to gather a small crowd of entertained vacationers from all over the world. It’s kind of fun to share smiles, giggles and laughs with strangers from foreign lands. I encourage y’all to try it.
The story I shared with these two kids, seeing that they loved the outdoors was the time that Crystal and I went on a little day hike at Possum Kingdom State Park, Just west of Fort Worth, location reference for the non-Texans. We had a grand time. On this trip out to the State Park we had breakfast at Jacks. An Old Weatherford truck stop. Theres a big tongue twisting riddle on the wall there, can’t seem to remember it at the time, but it was always one of my Dads’ favorite road food stops. Then it was off to our destination, Possum Kingdom State Park. Possum Kingdom lake is a huge winding damned up portion of the Brazos River. Lots of beautiful scenery around there. Big open ranges of rolling ranch land. This State park is one of my favorites. It’s a big beautiful area with a terrain that seems beautiful, rugged and full of life. From deer to jackrabbits and back in the day plenty of horny toads.
This was only our third date I think. I expressed how much I loved the outdoors and I should have been a park ranger instead of an artist. She went on about how much she loved the outdoors herself, so I though instead of a move or something inside, why not do a simple hiking date? Seems harmless enough and we both loved the outdoors, so it was a go. We walked and talked and shared stories about each other. Told embarrassing stories about family members and all the typical early dating stories that two attracted people share with each other. We saw deer and even a young fawn with his mother. We scattered nervous jack rabbits. We marveled at the grace of hawks flying overhead. We enjoyed the loud silence of the wind in the trees. Pretended that we both knew the song birds singing along with us. We were having a great time.
Then on this one section of the trail along a hillside. The trail kind of cut the side of the hill to get to the other plateau. I was walking in front reaching behind me for her hand and stating that she should watch her footing because some of the rock seemed a little loose. Then just like that. Slip. Swoosh. Down the hill she went. I lunged for her hand and just touched her fingertips. I was not inclined to let this great day go bad, so I scurried down the hill after her. I was getting slapped in the face by the cedar trees she was sliding under, yet I persisted. I had almost caught her hoodie just as she once again slipped alway. At the end of this sliding hillside was a little cliff and just as I saw it, there she went, with a slight glance of fear in her eyes as she looked at me for help. Then she was out of sight. Panicking, I did all that I could to get to the edge.
The good news is that the drop from the cliff was not but a few feet, the bad news. At the bottom of this small ledge was a huge patch of prickly pear cactus. This new girlfriend of mine that I was quickly falling for had just gone from a wonderful outdoor loving day and conversation – to landing tail end first in a large batch of Prickly Pear Cactus. Life, my friends and sometimes love can turn that quickly on us. From singing songbirds and baby wild animals along your path, to hundreds of needles becoming a pain in your tushy.
I found a gentler way down the little drop off and pulled her out of the cactus patch. I was apologizing for not catching her when she slipped and must have stumbled over my words a hundred times as I was getting her out of her landing area. We were both scrapped up a bit and a little in shock of what we just experienced. Then when she finally made eye contact with me she just paused and started laughing. Laughing. This wonderful woman went through a rocky brushy roller-coaster of natural hell and landed in the most unfriendly of plants that you can think of. She gets up and starts laughing. Folks, I would have been cussing earth, sky and mother nature herself if I had gone through such an unpleasant moment. Trust me. I would have invented words. Yet, this beautiful woman, stood there in her time of such a troubling moment and laughed. Her response to this situation simply floored me.
We got her dusted off and I reached into my backpack and pulled out my little wrist aide kit. I was a scout once, I know what to supply. So I told her to bend over. “What?” She replied sharply.
“I, we, have to get these needles out of your back side.” She looked at me as she pulled a few from her hands and arms. “I’m okay” she remarked.
“No really, I hate to do this, but you have a bunch in your seat. You can walk with those in”… and she started to try and walk. Wincing in pain and making me hurt sympathetically watching her try. “Okay” she said. “I see your point.”
“Funny”. I remarked as I got down on my knees and started to pluck needles out of her jeans. With each needle was a quiet, but stern word of frustration from her pressed lips. This little excessive took a bit of time, and it was a very awkward silence, despite minor adjustment directions and a few stern words from her pressed lips. It seems even all the sounds of nature around us had stopped. It was as if the wildlife around us had a concerning moment for us both. As the tedious work of pulling what seemed to be hundreds of needles out of her backside, we packed up, gathered ourselves and started to walk again. Only this time she stopped quickly in her steps to some more pain. “There still some in there.” She said. I looked and said no, they’re all out. I looked. Then she took a few steps and said. No. No there are still needles. Under her jeans. I looked at her with her tears being held back . I felt so bad, I wanted this to be me with the pains in the butt, but it wasn’t . It was her.
“Well, We have to get those out, or you’ll get infected.” I said with a little fear and sorrow in my voice. Then she decided that she could make it. “No, I doubt it, I can try and carry you, but we are a few miles out.” She looked at me and scoffed, you can’t carry me that far. I wasn’t going to argue, but I was willing to try. Then she turned around and mumbled something as she started undoing her jeans. “What was that?” I asked. She looked over her shoulder and said “It’s a good thing you’re cute.” And she pushed her jeans down. I was a little stunned and I calmly reached into my backpack and got my first aide kit back out.
Again as I was on my knees looking for these tiny needles in her bare tushy, the air became tense and the silence of the sounds of nature was deafening. With each little pluck, I heard a painful, quiet, stern pressed lip “Darn!” Pluck “Ouch! “ Pluck “Oshhhheese!” And it went on for what seemed forever. In my mind I was thinking I needed to try and lighten the moment with a casual, distracting conversation. Yet, I could not for the life of me think of anything proper to say other than , “sorry about that one” pluck. After a few of those and a few of the less painful ones I said. “You know, in some states if this happened and a guy had to pick cactus needles out of his girls tushy, they’d have to get married.” She looked over her shoulder at me and said “well then, I guess we better start planning.” I handed her some antibacterial ointment for her to rub over the more sensitive areas and she zipped up her jeans. I said yea, I guess we better start planning. And I helped her back to the Park Station with her leaning on my shoulder and back all the way.
Now, that’s the story I shared with the two young lovers from Baton Rogue and a handful of other people as I drew their caricature. It always seems to work out that by the time I finish the story, Ive also finished their caricature. And there is always a tear of joy. I usually get a hug and a handshake and I always send them off with my blessings. I enjoyed those two from Baton Rogue. I hope life treats them well. I pray that the military life for them is a fruitful and safe journey. They were bright kids.
So there you have one of my favorite love stories that my wife and I have experienced. Sure, my February Newsletter is a little late, but you have to be patient with me. I’m always on artist time. And Love is Patient. Love is kind. Right? I know wife, Crystal is…. patient and kind and loving.
From Ty Walls:
After four decades drawing smiles I often encounter remarkable people. I've learned to create little special moments for people from all around the world with my simple smile-drawing skills. But sometimes, life creates little magical moments for me. This blog is my attempt to share them with you.