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  • by Carolyn Lackey

My Apologies, Mr. Matisse

Meems' world is quiet and still. The woman who used to call me to tell me all about her dream the night before and what each lady at church was wearing last Sunday while I was trying to fry hamburger meat and corral little boys is now just that. Quiet and still.

I received a letter from her across-the-street neighbor on Rockview in Waco several days ago. I'm waiting on permission to share it with you. Permission via snailmail. It could be a while.

In the letter, the neighbor recalled some of her memories of my mother. She remembered the same Helen that I remember. Her words touched me deeply. I miss technicolor Helen/Meems.

A couple of summers ago, I tried to teach myself how to draw using a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Apparently, I draw better pictures with words than with a pencil. Last night, I found my meager, rudimentary drawings and showed them to my niece, Kelly. There was one that we agreed was the least bad drawing. Kelly suggested that we try adding color.

I scanned in the image and printed out several copies. As we talked about the task at hand, I thought that it might be fun to "Andy Warhol" Mom's picture. Meems taught me to love art and color, so it was only natural for us to use the style of AW. I wanted to add the color that I so miss in Mom's life right now. Armed with our copies and colored pencils, we went to work.

Andy Warhol's work doesn't seem to be that hard to replicate. Turns out he has gifts and talents that I do not. Kelly's rendition was pretty amazing. She made a copy of it for me to keep before heading back to her apartment. Still unsatisfied with my work, I tried to "AW" several copies of the drawing. It just wasn't happening.

Then, I switched to one of my favorite artists, Henri Matisse. I love his bold used of color. "This will be much easier," I told myself as I gathered up deliciously colored pencils.

Turns out Mr. Matisse also has gifts and talent that I do not.

My apologies to Mr. Matisse and Mr. Warhol.

Then, there's Kelly's work. She gets her talent directly from Meems' DNA. All I got was "art appreciation."

I decided to go back to what I know. Doodling. Kelly was good to remind me that in Meems' art classes she gave every student that attempted a project an A. So there.

If you dabble in art or just like to color with crayolas, I'd love for you to illuminate my meager drawing of Meems. Interested? If so, let me know and I'll mail you a copy of the original drawing. Until then, remember that each day that you're up and at 'em, you are living your technicolor-ed self just as God made you. Love you.

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