Friends


Is it Al Franken or is it Jon Lebkowsky (aka @jonl)?

And what are they thinking about?

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Gary David Goldberg, creator of Family Ties and Spin City was interviewed in Reader’s Digest April 2008. When asked if there was anything he might have done differently in his career, he responded with wisdom that I think we could all follow:

Early on, if you were in my way, I was willing to eliminate you. Now I don’t want to beat anyone at anything. The guy you beat has a family, he goes home – there are ripple effects. I’m aware that things can be over in a minute. I value my relationships. I feel blessed.

In the end, it really is about the relationships we foster and the “ripple effects” of our action. Both are within our control. That’s worth remembering when we feel beaten down and tempted to use our sharp elbows to work our way back up.

Me simpsonized

It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do, but when I saw that my friends at NCDD had their portraits “Simpsonized” I couldn’t resist. So this is what I’d look like! Not too far off the mark, actually, except that I certainly don’t have such luscious lips.

Go ahead, be a little silly. Simpsonize Yourself!

sandy and andy

Here’s Sandy Heierbacher and Andy Fluke of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation “Simpsonized”. They are so much more colorful.

Maybe I should experiment with different photos. Maybe I should try a different outfit.

Maybe I should go to bed so I can get up early and get some work done!

Thanks loads Sandy and Andy!

On Saturday evening, I went to an art opening in Lampasas with my dear friend Vickie Kelley. Vickie is a talented fabric artist married to noted sculptor Troy Kelley whose bronze works include Robert Gray the namesake of the Killeen airport, and Ted Connell also on display at the airport. (I’m extremely disappointed that you can’t find photos of these two major works at a public building on google. I’m heartbroken that not only is his statue of Jesus at the Salado Methodist church unavailable online, but the church has no notable presence online and their feeble website is years out of date.)

But I digress!

Here’s what stuck with me from Saturday.

tim's descriptionTim. or Timmy or Timothy. I’ll call him “Tim” because that’s his preference.

Tim is a self-appointed art interpreter for the town of Lampasas.

He learned “art” just as thousands of children have learned through the ages – at the knee of a master. Tim’s “master” was T.J. Mabrey a sculptor who spent hours at the Hanna Sculpture Garden in the heat of Central Texas carving four pillars – IV Florae – depicting the emergence of native flora from seed to fruit. We may never meet again, but Tim was an instant buddy plenty happy to show us around the gallery and offer his commentary, and to clown around with us.

 

After an hour or so at The Boat Show, Tim and his mother, Lorrie took us to the Hanna Sculpture Garden where Tim first met T.J. and brought her the acorn that would serve as the model for one of her pillars.

tim and acorn

 

looking at the weather vane

Tim’s intimate knowledge of T.J.’s art borne out of lazy afternoons watching her craft the four pillars of stone representing native plants in Texas made him an expert guide for our tour of the Boat Exhibit, but was particularly useful when he and his mother, Lorrie took us to the sculpture gardens.

That’s where this ADHD child really shone.

portal

I’m sure that T.J. had Tim in mind when her remarks focused on the importance of art in our schools. When did we decide that education is about “getting a job” and when did we decide that the best route to a “job-focused” education means that we sacrifice art education? Try to sculpt a “larger than life” presence of Robert Gray who has to stand over 7′ tall even though he never reached that stretch, like my friend Troy did. You have to understand physiology, science, and math to do that and keep everything in proportion. Think about the research skills and knowledge of Texas history that Troy has accumulated while working on the 12′ column depicting the Chisolm Trail that he is creating for the Bell County Museum. Just working in bronze requires knowledge of science, chemistry, engineering, physics and geology.

Tim on benchKids like Tim who may not do well in traditional classes could really shine working with their hands and learning through creating. I hope he gets that chance, but I worry that our cookie cutter approach to education and our emphasis on education as a means to getting a job doesn’t accommodate special kids like Tim. Fortunately, he’s got an attentive, involved mom and is surrounded by creative outlets.

I had a ball taking pictures of him with my iPhone and am glad that his mother agreed to let me snap away. Tim is one remarkable kid!

There may be an emerging theme for this blog. I have set up categories for postings on Art, Commentary, Travel and What were they thinking? The last category is where I’ll pose the obvious question that apparently wasn’t so obvious to others. (For example, watch for postings about poorly – ok, STUPIDLY – designed products or hair-brained ideas!)

holding handsBut already, there DOES seem to be an emerging theme in my life that I can explore on this blog. “Friends: finding and reconnecting with your past and building a new future of friendship.” In just the past few weeks, I’ve reconnected with high school chums from 32 years ago and have plans for face-to-face visits. I found a talented photographer / documentarian / author friend from the 80’s. (I’ll scan the fabulous photos he took of me when I looked good enough to – well, to photograph!) I’ve deepened a precious relationship here in Salado and I’ve had fun spontaneous encounters with people like Lorrie and Tim in Lampasas. (I definitely have MORE to say about that, but check out my Flickr link in the meantime!)

So what does it mean to have a friend? to find an old friend? to find a new friend? What makes old friendships remain relevant? I’ve reconnected with old friends I couldn’t wait to get off the phone with and erase from my database. I’ve reconnected with old friends I can’t wait to see. What makes the difference? Is it determined by the quality of our prior relationship? How closely we track in our personal and professional growth? Our expectations of each other? Why did we lose track in the first place? How is our relationship different now? Would it be the same if we hadn’t had time apart?

I have no clues about where my pursuit of these questions will lead me, but they seem appropriate for someone who just crawled over the 50 year hump. A retrospective of the last 50 years placed in the context of the next phase of my life could be a useful exercise. We shall see!