Reminiscence over the Delicious Weekend Escape

Grateful for Athens, Texas, when Greece is too Far Away

Grateful for Athens, Texas, when Greece is too Far Away

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

John Keats, “Endymion”

Pausing in the midst of this chilly Texas Sunday evening to reflect over the past several days has led me to the conclusion that the only way I survived the grind of a very difficult school week was believing that a respite awaited me over the weekend.  I would not be disappointed.  As soon as school ended Friday, I pointed my loaded vehicle east for the two-hour-plus drive to Bullard, Texas, delighting in the sights of Arlington and Dallas fading in my rearview mirror.  As I drove along, all I could hear in my memory were the songs played during some impromptu jam sessions played by my students in my classroom earlier that morning:

“a thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases . . .”

I arrived at the Family Center of the First United Methodist Church in Bullard (south of Tyler, Texas) and promptly began unloading and setting up my art display for the 7th Annual Genny Wood Art Show to open the following morning.

Once I completed my set up, I was exhausted to the bone, and exited the building.  Once outside, I surprised at the beauty of the cold night air that greeted me.  Autumn had finally arrived in Texas, my short-sleeved T-shirt was insufficient for keeping my body warm, and I retrieved a leather jacket from the Jeep and walked with serene contentment down the darkened streets, watching Halloween Trick-or-Treaters moving along the shadows, laughing and calling out to one another, always with attendant parents in tow.  It was shaping up to be a most satisfying Friday night in Bullard, Texas, and I felt I needed to treat myself to barbecue at Ribmasters just down the main drag.

Dear friends of mine from Athens, Texas (an hour away) always reserve a bed for me to stay the night when I’m in east Texas.  How grateful I was that night when my head hit the pillow at 9:33 p.m.  I know I was asleep within five minutes.  The night before, I had stayed up, making preparations for the show until 1:30 a.m., and then rose at 6:00 to teach school, then hit the road for the weekend art show.  I was ready for lights out.

Waking Saturday before the 6:00 alarm, I was stirred to alertness by the 39-degree temperature outside.  I shivered as I walked to my Jeep and began the one-hour drive back to Bullard for a 9:00 opening.  The show this year was the best I have seen over the past few years that I participated, and I found such wonderful kindred spirits among several oil painters, watercolorists, draftsman, and even a retired sign painter.  We chatted throughout the seven-hour day, exchanging ideas and enjoying one another’s company.  The conversations with the patrons were also filled with reward, and I picked up a plethora of tips of small towns and settings that I can sketch and paint in my future.  The day was packed with satisfying conversation, art sales and all-around good feelings of affirmation.  I love it when the art world brings that into my life, especially coming off a hard week at work.

Once the show ended my art was loaded back into my vehicle, I returned to the home of my dear friends in Athens for more wonderful conversation and another delicious night’s sleep.  Daylight Savings Time added an hour to my sleep cycle, and I awoke this morning feeling better than I have in weeks.  After a few more hours with my friends, I hit the road for the return home, a happy man.

Recalling the warmth of the past few days has prepared me to face this coming week which promises plenty of new challenges.  But I feel profoundly changed from the way things were last week, and I’m ready to face the new prospects. The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams has brought me great company over this weekend, and renewed commitment to excellence in the arts.  In future posts, I hope to share more of what I’ve been gleaning from his confessions.  Life is good now.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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