LET’S COOK: The gift of music, paints and understanding
Are you a fan of early Christmas presents? Some folks just can’t wait to open their presents. There was a time when I, too, was on that avenue. As a child, receiving anything that had to do with being creative was tops with me. Colored pencils, crayons, and pastels they were wonderful! I had to work very hard to coax my mother that I was ready to mix with a more upscale crowd. These successful pals came in little bottles in a variety of colors; with brushes and a blank canvas, creating could go on forever. Yep, I was asking for tempera paints for Christmas.
It was Christmas Eve 1969 and the Repnow family is gathered around the Christmas tree opening gifts. There was a race track, a play gas station, packages of new socks and underwear after all one must be practical in gift giving too. Ribbed in red and tucked way under the tree, almost hiding under the patterned red and green tree skirt, was a long, narrow box. You know, the type that paints come in! You didn’t hear a “you shouldn’t have” for me. My very first set of paints complete with brushes, paper canvas and chance to express myself in many hues and designs. I could not wait to use these paints.
The paint set did come with one main rule: they were only to be used at the kitchen table with tons of newspaper to catch any mishaps. Oh yes, I understood, and I did follow the rules for most of the time. That is until one afternoon I decided that music would greatly aid me in being creative. So I hauled my paint set to the living room along with the newspapers. The Early American end table was the perfect easel and once I set up shop, turned on the record player, I was ready to start creating masterpieces. Everything was going along well until the red container of paint took and unexpected tip onto the carpet.
There was drama, my heart racing to wipe up as much paint as possible. Why did it have to spread out so? My first thought was to get a spoon and save as much as possible after all I knew I would not be getting anymore red paint! (I might add that all of this took place while my parents were away.) Then I heard my mom’s voice in the kitchen. My heart nearly stopped as I tried to slide the table over the red pond. I knew right away there was going to be waves of many emotions once she stepped into the living room.
She stood in the doorway in her white nursing uniform. The first thing she said to me was “get me some old towels, now!” She was a natural at stain removal and had plenty of experience doing laundry for five active sons. This however was not the usual spray and wash. There was pandemonium especially when the gold carpet had now taken a hue of very pink! Once she had gone even beyond surgical cleaning standards and our now gold carpet had a rose tone, we had a talk.
It was not ease because I had clearly disobeyed her wishes. As a child, I always sensed that both my parents were there to always have by back. My mom, like with many mother-son relationships, was my rock. She encouraged me in so many ways and art and music were constants. She realized that I wanted to enjoy music while being creative. I could have just cranked up the stereo and stayed put at the kitchen table. It was then that her creativity kicked in and she replaced the Early American end table with a lower occasional that nearly masked the stain. She soon took care of that by placing a set of flat rocks that she had collected beneath the table. Her love made that stain disappear and encouraged me to continue painting just not in the living room!
This year my Christmas has included some wonderful music: The Messiah, The Heritage Singers presentation of Lessons and Carols, The Voice of Note Concert, and a musical presentation by the Ramstad String Ensemble in which Lydia played the bass with her pals.
So each time I hear a concert, it is a gift, one I unwrap and enjoy greatly. This Christmas has not gone without me painting you will have to wait to hear more about that until those gifts are unwrapped!
My wife, Jan, is a master at making spritz cookies and she is training her apprentice, Lydia. She only uses the hand spritz makers and has an arsenal of them that she has gathered at rummage sales. As Lydia says, we have enough vintage spritz makers some two-toned copper and some plain aluminum to last well beyond assisted living. The wreaths are a Christmas tradition and garnets of red and green cherries make them as vivid as Christmas bulbs.
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