Archive for April, 2013



I was on my way to the post office this afternoon when something caught my eye that I had not seen in a long time: a clothesline. With real clothes hanging from it. With clothespins. You are probably thinking why am I making such a big deal about it. I guess it’s just at that moment I was transported back to my childhood, picturing my mom hanging our clothes out to dry. Even when we finally got an automatic dryer, my mom would still hang clothes if the weather was cooperating.She said it just made the clothes smell fresher.

Back then there were a lot of moms hanging clothes in the backyards of our street. Lots of conversations took place over and under those clotheslines. “Hey Irene!” Mrs. Bonatatti yelled from her yard one morning, “Guess what I found in my basement this morning!” “What’s that?” my mom hollered back as she reached into the clothespin bag. “A snake! A big ‘ol black snake! I killed it with a hoe!” Unbeknownst to my mom, that was my black snake which I had just released the day before in the vacant field next to the Bonatatti house. The snake was living in a cage in our basement, and had recently bitten me on the toe. I figured if he was getting that high tempered that it be best that I let him go. I felt bad that he died such a horrible death, but I sure didn’t lead on that I knew anything about it.

When I cought a glimpse of the clothesline today, I parked my truck and walked about a block with my camera. Just as I was about to take my photo, a man walked into the yard carrying a gasoline can. I know he saw me, so I yelled out,”Excuse me sir!” He just looked at me. “Sir.” I said again, hoping to get a response. I got a low kind of…well….grunt. “Sir, I just want to take a photo of your clothesline.” “It’s not mine! he yells, somewhat irritated that I am even bothering him, “It’s her’s, downstairs!” as he points to a door to a lower-level apartment.

“Well I just want to take a picture of it, you know”….(and here is where my brain goes to mush)…”to show my kids. You don’t see clothes hanging out to dry anymore.” Now my “kids” are all adults and I am sure that my photo of a clothesline is not going to impress them, but that is all I could come up with! “I’ll just go ahead and take it then,” I said. He makes a quick motion towards that basement door with his free hand. Now I read a book years ago called “Body Language”, and what I read from his body language was this: Just take your damn photo and leave me the hell alone. I did, and I apologized for my interruption. (He had one of those kind of faces that keeps one apologizing a lot.) “‘At’s allright”, he grumbled.

ANd one more thing. I thought that line full of clothes would make an excellent subject for a watercolor painting. I’ll put that on my to-do list.


Have an American Picker Experience

I’m often asked if I watch the television program, American PIckers. I have seen a few episodes and I really don’t care for show. Here are these two antique dealers who drive around the country looking for treasures in old barns and out buildings. They have an uncanny ability to turn the property owner’s brain to mush, enabling the “pickers” to fill their van with antique goodies at a fraction of their true value.

Wait….did I say FILL their van? Ha! Here is why I think the show is pure BS. These guys only buy three items at time! That’s right, there could be a barn packed with goodies from top to bottom, but they buy an enamel oil sign, a cement cat sculpture, and a rusted engine from an Indian motorcycle ……..and then they LEAVE! Look, REAL pickers would not leave until (A), they ran out of cash; or (B), the van was so full that nothing else could possibly be shoved into it.

Last month, Chris and I were visiting family in Arizona. Outside of Phoenix, along with our friend Dan, we stopped at a roadside antique shop ¬†with several pieces of furniture lined up along the highway. As we pulled in front we saw a hand-painted sign that read “Have an American Pickers Experience”. The shop was jam-packed, as were the half-dozen or so out buildings on the property. We had a fun time looking around and I did purchase a few items to use in artwork. The owners were were very friendly and we had a fun visit. I’ll the photos tell the rest of the story!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.