Sunday, February 02, 2014

Dreams My Fathers Sold Me

February 2, 2014
  Working on a couple paintings today: "Windswept Highway," "20,000 Cooties Under The Sea" and "Sailer's Camp Respite", all three for "The 66 Kid."

  I had a speech yesterday for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Steward Retreat and on the way back home I spied this great bank of clouds.

Pima Road and Lone Mountain, looking north over Continental Mountain. I dig that python head, also the road design, shooting off to the right is a happy accident. I will use both. I took a second shot through the windshield to pick up the rest of the cloud bank:

Looked like it might rain but we got nothing out of it. I'm also working on my father's dream, that is, what he aspired to, and how he sold me on his dreams. Here's my first take on it:

Dreams My Father Sold Me
 Almost every Sunday my father would take my mother and I for a drive. First to my grandparent's farm north of Thompson, and then from there to see gas stations, or other businesses for sale. Sometimes they would be combination-gas station-cafes and even more ideal, one such combo at Leland, had a small gas station with a cafe next door, behind a white picket fence and the house was above the cafe. My father would stop the car and let it idle and tell my mother and I how happy we would be with this three-in-one dreamboat property. I've always had a vivid imagination and I always bought what he was selling, or, in this case trying to buy.

 Even after we moved to Arizona, we would sometimes make a trip to Wickenburg to take a look at a Western Auto store he saw in the paper, or a Blakely Gas Station on the road to Wendon. I loved these trips because they gave us hope for a better life, an ideal, and a dream to shoot for.

 The part I didn't like was, as time went on, my father would come home and start drinking, which led to complaining about all his problems at the gas station. He had employees who were stealing from him. The oil company wanted to raise his lease, the local bulk plant was ripping him off. At some point I got the message loud and clear: I'm not sure what I am going to do with my life, but whatever it is, it won't be this. Which put a bit of a wedge between us, because I think my father always had a fantasy of a car related business with the signage—All Bell & Son—over the door. I wanted to please him, but given his unhappiness at the dinner table I instinctively knew I would not be going in that direction. It was just too obviously a dead end.

  The upshot being, I was very careful what I talked about at the dinner table with my own kids. But even with my careful resere, neither one wanted to be an artist, or a historian. So, looking back, I might as well have complained like crazy.

"What you get is not quite what you choose."
—JD Souther, in "The History of The Eagles"