Saturday, July 13, 2013

Art = Hope

My "neighbour" exhibiting next to me at the "Take 5" art show and sale this week has been Joyce Hartman, who lives north of Bashaw, just off Highway 21...and is, I believe, a member of the Bashaw Art Club.  I can't find a web page or blog for her (she's older than I) so can't give you a link.  Sorry.

She features in this afternoon's story of delight and joy.

It was very quiet during my shift at the show (1 - 4 p.m.) but 'long about 3:30 p.m. a young family sauntered by our front door as my co-worker and I were taking a breath of air.  I invited 'em in to see the art...but the littlest girls weren't interested.  Still, on their way down the street I heard one adult with them say, "I'll bet your mom would like to see the art show."

Sure enough, a few moments later they were all in the theatre: mom, three daughters (eldest, about 11 years old), and friend/companion.

By closing at 4 p.m., "Mom" had purchased a bold acrylic (unframed) canvas by the above-mentioned Ms. Hartman: "Mountain Ash Berries".  She said it reminded her of the tree in her former front garden.

Photo Credit: Global Calgary
Former, because she's from the Flood Zone (or 'Ground Zero of the Flood', as she called it) in SE Elbow Park area in Calgary.  Not one of the fancy newer homes, but an older, modest home that is normally 2 blocks from the Elbow River -- except when it floods.  (She showed us photos.)

She and her husband bought the house a year ago; the 11-year-old had her bedroom (with art supplies) in the basement.

The basement was flooded nearly to the ceiling...but the place is salvageable.  That said, the girl lost everything.  Generous benefactors in a shop in Britannia (a very posh SW neighbourhood) where she has a picture on sale, have given her art supplies.  Strangers have come out of the woodwork to help with the clean-up.  The family is living higher up in the northwest part of the city, with "Mom"'s parents.

And yes, the front garden is gone...or at best, a muddy mess.

When we asked what could be sent to help in the area, "Mom" replied that the most important thing was food and cleaning supplies, like paper towels and hand sanitizer for the cleaning crews so they could wash their hands before they could eat.  Some of the volunteers have had to be hospitalized due to mould etc. contracted/inhaled while cleaning.

Not a word about something she needed.  Only about the needs of others.

And she bought art.  Uplifting art.  A picture that would remind her of her wee holiday in Bashaw, a rural place in the middle of nowhere, Central Alberta, where, she agreed, one could find healing and solace and the strength to start again.

May it always be so.


Judy Warner said...

Beautiful story, Margaret. Great focus for my day. I will share.

Kitchener Quilter said...

What a moving story. I'm all choked up. You bring such heart to your writing.