Our Spring Break
August and I had a wonderful day spent visiting friends and going to the museum. She had not been to an art museum and the day was so beautiful, the campus area cleared because of spring break and it happened to be the day the museum was open to the public for free. The idea came to me early enough in the day so we went with it. When we got there she appreciated the wide open space that was the lobby, then the many stairs leading to the permanent collection.
She pulled me from room to room, she was so excited. We ended up back in the room with the Modern and Contemporary Art in front of Alfred Gottlieb's Cadmium Red Above Black several times. August kept saying it was so beautiful. She said so many of the pieces there were "...so beautiful, Mommy". She sat in front of Peter Dean's Dallas Chaos II for quite awhile. Of all paintings for a toddler to pick to sit in front of. It had a "piggy" in it and "clowns". I think the bright and bold colors are what drew her in. I have often thought the painting felt like a hostile circus or parade and liked it for that reason.
I had to visit my favorites: Jerry Bywaters' Oilfield Girls, William Glackens' Lena and Imp and Yasou Kuniyoshi's Waitresses from the Sparhawk. Mr Gage studied under Kuniyoshi in Woodstock. I have always recognized his influence on Mr Gage's work. There was a framed black and white photo of Kuniyoshi that hung over Mr Gage's bedroom door. I thought of how talented Mr Gage was and how his artwork reflected the era that surrounded me in that museum room. I so miss Mr Gage, the older man in my life. He'd laugh at that when we'd joke about such things. I can say that I am genuinely left with a void in my life now that he is gone. Never again a conversation about old British actors, no talk about Mistinguett, no one will ever sing me Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France or How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm.
After, we headed for the cafe and lunched on cheesecake. August loves cheesecake but not when it is served at home. She didn't even really notice it was cheesecake the one time I gave her a slice at home. But when we are out, cheesecake a special treat. On the way to the truck we stopped in what looked like a little spring haven with blooming trees and yellow flowers. We picked flowers and for awhile I did forget we were actually near a parking lot.
Next on the list was grocery shopping, something we both love to do but August said she wanted to go shopping with her Papi. Once at the grocery store I could see she was indeed exhausted so we left and returned home. She changed out of her clothes and put herself in bed for nap...all on her own. It was a special day. The grocery shopping didn't get done. Dinner was okay at best. I put together a meal with what I had on hand from a near empty fridge and pantry. Sausage and green beans with almonds. As we ate we spoke of the day and I asked her what she liked. Seeing her Madrina and paintings and cheesecake were the list. I looked at the two paintings I had of Mr Gage's and sent him a few thoughts.
Not everyone is in agreement with priorities but when it comes between filling the fridge and pantry or taking advantage of a beautiful day... It isn't often that I am spontaneous. What I had planned was a trip to the grocery store then back for household chores and dinner. But when we woke up that morning, it was such a beautiful day, the kind that would take me to visit my old friend. Instead I introduced August to The Blanton. The decision to forgo all responsibilities was irresistible. August is on the brink of her third year on earth and so in love with paintings. Just the other night, before bed, she dragged out the watercolors and wanted to paint. She loves the paintings that hang in our home. It was an amazing afternoon for me. No regrets. A messy house and bare cupboards just aren't as urgent as sharing art with my little girl on a pretty day. This is how it should be.