September 30, 2005
Well, the big day is here and I’m appropriately nervous. In other words, full of self-doubt and catastrophic imaginings. “What if only five people show up?” and “What if I only sell five paintings?” and “What if people smirk and say, ‘He’s no Ted DeGrazia”?” Of course, on the outside I’m calm and I act nonchalant. I’m a pro, I’ve done this all of my life. If people only knew!
Samantha, Carole and Melrose helped me load up the trucks with 114 framed pieces and we chugged up the hill to deposit them at the Cowboy Legacy Gallery at about nine. Brian was in the process of stripping the walls of their normal stuff to make room for my stuff.
After we loaded in everything, Melrose took the opportunity to grab a squib (a fake gun, on a gambling layout) and play cowboy in the store, twirling the gun on his finger, cocking it and shooting, telling everyone he would be a major gunfighter if he had been alive in the real Old West. I told Mike that on a scale of one to ten on the International Irritability Scale he was pushing a strong 8.5. This of course just encouraged him as he redoubled his efforts with all his Charles City, Iowa heart to somehow, someway, get up to a solid ten. He pretty much achieved his goal.
I’m going to go home and take a shower. Sam and I are going up after lunch to look at the space one more time. She needs plenty of room to sell books, posters, t-shirts and notecards.
Got this question this morning: “During the movie Chisum a reference was made about a food product ‘airtight.’ What is it?”
I didn’t know so I asked some of my Western film aficionados and here's their answers:
"’airtights’ is a reference to canned goods. In Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Garrett (James Coburn) tells Alias (Bob Dylan) to go over to a shelf in a saloon/store and keep busy by reading the ‘airtights’......and the scene shows Alias reading the labels on canned foods. Alias: ‘Beans.....stewed plums.....spinach......beans....’ etc.'”
—Thom Ross, 2005 artist of the year, True West Best of the West
“Probably meant a can, as in tinned food.”
—Frederick Nolan, author and Billy the Kid expert
“As I recall, ‘airtight’ was another slang term used for tinned goods, since they were packed airtight.”
—Phil Spangenberger, gun expert and True West columnist
“My thought is that is was ‘hard tack.’ Didn't they used to put it some kind of can so it wouldn't get stale? Though how the hell anyone would notice if had tack was stale is beyond me.”
—Allen Barra, author
At this juncture (11:30 A.M.) I’m fighting the strong temptation to run away and change my name.
“We gain the strength of the temptations we resist.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
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