Penrod Art Show vs. Broken Neck (2 Months Later)

For anyone who read my blog post two months ago Penrod Art Show vs. Broken Neck  about the 22-yr old son of dear friends who broke his neck while my wife and I were at the Penrod (Indy) Show…here is a brief update…

Tanner Gibson and his wife are back in their home and continuing classes at Tennessee Tech.  His neck halo brace was finally and mercifully removed.  He has movement of all limbs and is rehabbing intensely.  He raised his right arm completely over his head recently, a victory.

Like any active, young person, rehab is frustrating and taking too long.  He wants to be 100% yesterday.

But he is alive.  He is walking.  He was/is a miracle.  Prayers were lifted up all over the nation and they were answered this time, as requested.  A testimony to the goodness of God…for the rest of his life.

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Madison, Indiana – “For Sale”

The art-Gypsy Train rolled into Madison, Indiana a few weekends back for the annual Madison Chautauqua Art Festival.  My wife Deborah, fine artist painter, had been accepted to participate along with about 300 other hopeful, creative sorts.

Madison is a small, bucolic, southern Indiana town, nestled into the meandering, sweeping arm of the Ohio River, connected to Kentuckians south by one narrow bridge, surely over-creaking with a colorful history of customer transport.

Downtown offered neat, tree-lined square blocks of restored circa 1800 carriage houses, tidy two-stories with porches, and the occasional stately manor with tall columns.  Professionals and retirees with money move “up”, literally, to the bluff-top-with-view, north of town.

What a spectacle was Saturday morn…Autumn leaves teased with color, jazz quartet live on the green, tight-white artist tents sprouted everywhere, multi-country cuisine smoke wafting to tempt all, and a bonus discovery…a winery and garden celebration just two blocks away on the rivers mighty banks (who’d thunk vineyards here).

Smiling, happy, townsfolk began streaming in to the Festival, pockets stuffed with money… strolling up and down the angled streets, searching the tents and artists for…




Yard art.

My hat is off to Madison Chautauqua Art Festival for certainly obliterating any previously held national record for Yard Art Sales per Fair attendee.

Yup, a smokin’  1 out of every 9 people were carrying some form of an inspired landscape creation (er…yard art.)

I’m pretty left-brained so I know how to conduct statistically significant studies, (which is the key, I learned that in college), cause you can’t make statements like this without hard data, so I got it.

At randomly selected moments, during the two days, I perched on my assigned and trusty black art stool, and, well…counted.   I tallied people with “yard art in-hands” divided by all the passerby’s and got 1 out of 9.  Pretty much every time.  The copper stick yard art with a dragon-fly on the top was most popular, followed closely by the steely gray stick with a bird in a nest.  Uh, that part is observational and not really statistical.

These findings led me to posit some conclusions/questions:

  1. There are more Yards in Madison, therefore, higher sales are to be expected.
  2. Yard Artists KNOW this is THE hotbed destination of the nation for yard art sales (like purple Elvis’ in Memphis, or Cherry Blossom water-colors in D.C.)
  3. Customers were speculating the cost of copper commodities would skyrocket in future years, perhaps tripling the value of said yard art, to say…$27.

Egads!  Am I missing a huge untapped market for Art of Yard Art?  Maybe acrylic-on-canvas paintings of copper dragonflies, providing customers four-season enjoyment of Yard Art In Living Room.  No, too expensive.  Better to try  8″ x 60″ birds-nest-on-a-pole Giclee Prints…you could stick them up all over the house!  Kind of a skinny version of those giant wall graphics used for sports heroes.

Speaking of sports, I might add the results of a corollary study from our good river town.  There IS NO statistical relation between Yard Art Customers and their favorite Sports Team.  In fact, on a broader scale, the greater Madison Festival crowd displayed no primary or dominant relation to ANY sports team.  They may know their Yard Art, but appear quite confused as to where to place home-team loyalties.

An in-depth study of the peoples choice of  jerseys and hats and sweatshirts confirmed random and scattered quantities of the following:  Louisville Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Cubs, Tennessee Volunteers, Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Hoosiers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Cincinnati Reds, Kentucky Wildcats, and on and on.  I could stretch and say the local high school loyals skewed just a tad higher with the ever-fashionable red, short-sleeved T of the Madison Cubs.

However, the most telling observation from the weekend in Madison is that the entire town went “On Sale”.

I found the Chautauqua Art Festival was really just the banner event, the cover if you will,  for the Every One Sell Everything You Can Festival.  And they did a bang up job.

There were:  Yard sales, garage sales, porch sales, street sales, bake sales, farmers markets, auctions, and church socials.  Scattered around town, just beyond the boundaries of The Art Festival, pockets of little unregistered, art tent cities huddled together to scavenge off wayward, unsuspecting customers.

Restaurants, normally not open for lunch, did so (come on, a cup of chicken noodle for $8).  Chili and hot dogs were hawked from church lawns.  A  young man sold airplane propeller art from his porch (uh, real propellers, not paintings of propellers).   Kettle corn on every corner, front yard tables stacked with apples and honey, an old lady sat alone in her driveway, pitching her framed sketches from a card table.

The whole town had the fever to sell the whole town.

Oh, and there was the real Chautauqua Art Festival…

…and we did have a ton of traffic coming through our tent…

…asking how to get past us to the sidewalk behind…so they could see the House For Sale By Owner, who in the spirit of the day had set up easels bearing huge, color posters of their remodeled interior and amenities…

…so they could sell it, and then buy a new house with a bluff-top-view, and a bigger yard

…for more…art.

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Art Show vs. Broken Neck

So, the Gypsy Train rolled into Indy for the Penrod Arts Fair 2011, looking for big sales and happy times.  We were so excited to be a participating artist of “Indiana’s Nicest Day”, the self-claimed tag for the one day show on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Everything was as advertised.  350 artists, multiple music stages, wine stands, gourmet cooking (teaching) chefs, children’s area…heck, even Bud Light taps sprouting from walls of strategically parked trucks.  With the cost of admission at $17, a ‘buying crowd’ was practically guaranteed.

Sold some paintings early in the day and thought we are on our way.

Then the call came.  Frantic.  Desperate.

I don’t know who to call.  He broke his neck.  I don’t know what else to do, where to go… can you pray for us. Yes, of course.

The  cell call came from a loving Mom (and dear friend of ours).   As we stood in the back of booth #75, she was floating in a speed-boat on a lake in Tennessee.  Water skiing fun gone terribly wrong.  Her 22-year old son in a freak tangle, had fallen.  Neck snapped.  Face down and unable to move, a Friend in the water rolled him over to save drowning.

The terror in her gut and the look on her son’s face tell Mom …he’s dead…but then she, Dad, Wife, & Friends go into action.

Get him to the rear deck.  Pull him onto my lap.  Call 911.  Put the wake board under his legs dangling off the back.  Flag down that passing boat.  Screaming, waving hands…Please Stop!

The boat pulls along side.  Just happens to be carrying a Nurse.  Her first time on the lake, ever.  She’d swam in it, but never boated.  Today, she boated.  And was cruising by a broken neck within minutes of occurrence.

Take charge.  Stabilize.  Hold neck.  Angel Nurse.

Finally back to the marina. EMS coming.  20 minutes seem like 20 years.

While they wait come the words that would double over the father.

“Dad, can you pray for me…”

EMS arrives.  Can’t do anything here. Call Life Flight from Vanderbilt Medical Center.  15 minutes later the chopper arrives.  Their son, one of the brightest lights and love of their life, just disappears into the western horizon, while they stand and watch.

We left Indy early Sunday and arrived at Vandy minutes before surgery prep.  Prayer chains had been activated all over the country, with resounding, fervent pleas for healing and restoration.

3:33 pm surgery begins.  Fused the 2nd and 3rd vertebrate with bone graft taken from his hip.  Halo head stabilizer screwed on.  Ventilator.  Intubator.  IV’s.  Stuff attached everywhere.

The prognosis comes an hour later…expect a full recovery, with about 15% restricted movement in his neck area.  Not out of woods, but looking good.  Universal Hallelujahs.

Later, one from the Doctor’s team announced…“this is the luckiest man in Nashville.”  

From that same trauma room on floor 10, at least 4 more people would die in the next 48 hours while ‘lucky man’ (translation blessed, for all of us) took baby steps toward immediate healing and a life-long testimony.  His triumph over a near-tragic death came on the same day a nation remembered the tragedy ten years ago on 9/11.

I witnessed a loving, faithful family pull together in amazing fashion.  Made possible by having a foundation.  A source of power and strength; a basis for operating in times such as this.

For the rest of us?  It is not if, but when, we will experience Valleys, hard out-of-the-blue personal losses and challenges.  That’s life in this world.

Question is… what will lift you up from them?  How will you and your family persevere?

Good looks?  Your great job?  Number of Facebook friends?  Quantity of paintings sold?  Your bank account?  New SUV?

Try taking all of those to the Intensive Care Unit on floor 10.

This family put it all on the Lord’s shoulders.

And not just for a couple of horrible days and nights around a son’s broken neck.  It is a free choice and one they made long before this event.  With it they are promised peace, favor, blessing, mercy, grace, power, in ALL things; even if their son had passed on to heaven that day, it is the strong name of Jesus that would’ve carried the family on.  Thankfully, it is the same name that will now get them through long and painful days of rehab, fraught with discouragement, tears, and frustration.

This isn’t ‘a preach’…it IS to share what I saw work in action this weekend.  And it works like this in countless lives every day.  It is truth.

Some other time I may do an Artist’s review of the Penrod Art Festival…for now, this just mattered a whole lot more.

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theartbiz bitz: Create a “Story” with Blurb Mobile

Stories are Everywhere.

That’s the tag line for Blurb Mobile’s free app that allows you to create your own stories featuring all your personal media from a mobile device.

The catch?  That device must be an iPhone, iTouch, or iPad.  (based on Apple’s quarterly earnings, every family has at least one, right?)

So, if you have one, and you’re in the art biz, pay attention!  This easy-to-use, fun, and cool app can help you market your work.

Blurb Mobile lets you use photos and video  shot from your iPhone (or imported from another camera), sequenced ‘as you wish’ into a “My Story”, provides image editing, and you can add audio clips and/or text captions to each photo.  Director and producer of your very own short, media presentation.

So, how can it be used?

Imagination is the limit, but for example:  My wife and I travel to juried, outdoor art shows…it helps me instantly chronicle show attributes (crowd size, show venue, booth layout, quality and mix of work, etc.) More important I capture highlights of my wife’s work/tent, customer interactions, featured art, etc., then edit it right on the iPhone with the app and hand it to her for audio voice-overs of select images. This adds the personal artist touch and insight to some aspect of the event.  The Story can then be shared ‘real-time’ via email, twitter, facebook, to get the word out (like…”hey friends, I’m at a great art show right now in northeast Louisville…Saturday has been busy and I will be here all day Sunday…Come and check out booth 75!”)


  • Send out a Story in your next email newsletter to keep existing customers informed and engaged on your schedule and new work
  • Take a series of short video clips of a ‘painting-in-progress’, capturing the process and the inspirational elements
  • Information on a new series of art classes offered

Of course, Blurb Mobile works beyond art stories, offering a way to…“instantly create and share from a social setting, travel location, a personal moment, or, an important event.”

I sent my 87 year old Mom a Story one early morning from my porch, cup of hot java in hand, birds humming, flowers blooming, sun rising…took some photos, voice recorded in some personal thoughts, then hit send and shared the moment with her instantly.  Too cool.  (…Ma, really, it’s there, just click on the little colored link!)

I don’t work for Apple or Blurb, and get zero for this endorsement…just passing along a tip that has worked for us.  I used the Free version for about a day to see how it worked and quickly found the $1.99 upgrade a no-brainer, adding greater media capacity…and the freedom to create better stories.  With the upgrade you get:

  • Images:         Up to 15 images per story
  • Audio Clips: 1 per image – 2 min per clip
  • Video Clips: 3 per story – 30 sec per video
  • Themes:       8 additional themes

Check out the details yourself at Blurb Mobile and iTunes App Store. Version 1.3 is now available.

There is no limit to the number of Stories you can create, but, alas…boring content is still boring content.  The app is cool…it just doesn’t promise all the Stories will be!  🙂

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Labor Day, Mom, and Picasso

Time for the oddest of national holidays.  Labor Day.

Stop your average gen-Millennial on the street and ask them:  Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

Bet you get a blank stare first, then probably one of these…

  • “We just absolutely have to have one more street parade.” (sarcasm noted)
  • “Last chance at BBQ’s, Beers, Boats?”
  • “Day off to do back-to-school shopping and stimulate the economy.”
  • I have no idea…I have to go to work.”
  • “Re-arrange my closet…you know, put away the white clothes.”
  • “Time to par-tay, baby, College football and NFL are back!”
  • “uh…we love labor unions and need to express our thanks.” (sheepish uncertainty noted)

The official Labor Dept. web-site elaborates:

The observance and celebration of Labor Day… outlined in the first proposal of the holiday … (is) to take the form of — a street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations’ of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

Finding a porcupine in your sleeping bag causes one to hop with excitement…celebrating to the original Labor Day concept, not so much. It just isn’t relevant anymore.

To belabor the obvious…unemployment is high and employer loyalty low.  Labor unions are less meaningful than ever.   With global sovereign debt and shaky economies, good ol’ ‘esprit de corps of trade and labor’ have been replaced by collaborated survival between rock and hard place.

Even as a boy growing up I was confused about Labor Day.  I remember asking my Mom where I came from and among other things she carefully alluded to delivery…through a process called Labor.

She talked about how women worked really hard and suffered pain to bring babies into the world.  I just assumed Mothers Day was thanks for Raising kids and Labor Day was congrats for actually Birthing them.  And because my own birth day was in the first few days of September I gave Mom extra credit for some nifty, symbolic planning.

Nowadays, Labor Day is sacked with irrelevant purpose and forgotten spirit.  Therefore, in blissful ignorance, and in contradiction to it’s name, I pledge to join the national throng and… Rest on Labor Day.

Or, MAYBE we need a whole new  labor model.  I think we need…

…Pablo Picasso.

The famous painter, had this insight…“When I work I relax; doing nothing or entertaining visitors makes me tired.”

Egads!  He flips it all upside down.  Working (labor) = Relaxation.  Doing nothing (rest) wears him out.

You can’t possibly argue with work-part of Pablo’s strategy.  This guy did some heavy brush-lifting.  History books tell us…‘the total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rug.’

Taken at his word, “when I work I relax”, Pablo Picasso must have been in perpetual state of simmered down, settled back, breathing easy, hanging loose, dickens-of-an-artist.  And I did mention ‘rich’…no starving artist here, Pablo amassed a considerable fortune.

It’s simple.  Work hard and you’ll be relaxed!  His words are gold; the mother lode of revelation.  Seize these nuggets and embrace a new attitude, a new approach to your labor.

Oh, and Picasso’s full baptized name? 

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad.  Imagine formal introductions at dinner parties, and it’s no wonder he said…

“…entertaining visitors makes me tired”.

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“Work-out” Your Creativity

The standard advice for a strong and fit body is eat right, get proper sleep, and exercise 3-5 times per week.

Take the exercise part…please.

In return for sweating, pumping, torquing, climbing, spinning, treading, and rowing, not only is the body enhanced and refreshed, but experts tell us the mind and soul benefit as well.

The theory is greater energy and renewed purpose then cascade into our day, raining down buckets of  laser-like decisiveness, tack-sharp insight, and, here’s the big payoff…

…oodles of new inspirational ideas erupt from a vast, untapped, inner secret reservoir of Creative-Ness.

Picture Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, standing in the gusher of a fresh oil strike, hands out catching liquid black Gold with a smile broad and bright enough to light the night.  (Just saying, big eruption, lots of spillage)

Anyway, that’s the theory.  Exercise = Creativity Released


When I work-out I’m on Auto-pilot.  And not a very intelligent pilot.

Follow the drill.  3 reps of 15 then march to the next machine.  Ear buds planted to latest tunes.  Zone-out.  Plasma TV streams motion, no audio…what a bonus, ESPN, MSNBC in sub-title.  Wipe down the tread mill, re-hydrate, get on the rowing apparatus.

Ahhh, The Rowing Machine…maybe THAT’S the ticket to release MY creative wellspring.  Maybe as I start pulling the handle and rope, I’ll be transported to…

…6 am, the sharp point of a single-oar scull slices through the dead-calm Charles River. Perfectly cadenced strokes of dip, twist and thrust propel the trusty watercraft in near-silence, making swift, riverbank memories of passing Boston parks, offices, bridges, a campus, streets.  It’s an autumn morn with a crisp-crackle attitude.  A stubborn blue fog hugs the chilled water as mother to child,  spreading her mist against the early licks of a peeping eastern fireball.  For he who sets the jaw and generates the power, all is lost in a ballet of muscle, motion, sweat that aren’t seen as ‘friends’, rather sturdy accomplices in a single purpose to go the distance.  At least three seconds faster than the day before…

Naaaah.  For me it’s still just pulling a rope on auto-pilot, mindlessly watching the little wheel filled with water go round and round, trying not to hurt some unsuspecting body part.  Sweat released, certainly.  Creativity?  Nary an oodle.

But there is new hope, a form of mind exercise that makes grand claims.

It’s called Brain-Training.


Using ‘gamification’ software, with up to 35 games you ‘work-out’ with your smartphone or computer instead of the gym.  Lumosity (don’t ya love the name) is an app aimed at increasing alertness, sharpening memory skills and improving concentration.  Less than 30 minutes of ‘playing’ a day and you think faster, expand attention span (up to 40%) and, here it is…release new levels of Creativity!

Apparently, say the scientists, our Brain has reached it’s peak at 30 years old and then then those little cells start to go down hill.  (I would’ve bet more like age 20, based on activity witnessed at college frat parties.)

Point is, with these Digital Work-outs you shake and bake the cells back into action, like there is this major Sargent shout-out in your brain saying “Attention you pathetic cell-heads, roll out of those bunks NOW, feet on deck, DOUBLE-TIME!

Amazing. New pep in the step of your brain is now available.  It’s no sweat.  Literally.

Just imagine being able to find all this new creative power

or even better, where you left the car keys.

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theartbiz bitz: Sharpen Your Bid

Attention traveling Artists! (or anybody needing a HOTEL room)

If you have to hit the road to participate in art shows, fairs, festivals, gallery openings, seminars, conferences, or any other reason that requires an overnight stay…

…this card trick is for you.

Combine the cost-saving benefits of using

with the additional tool of

Assuming you like saving money and getting a decent stay for a great rate then you are probably already a big fan of…notwithstanding the quirky, punching pitch-ster, William Shatner.

TheBiddingTraveler acts like an Ace-in-the-hole to give you the advantage during on-line negotiations.

They aggregate all the recent winning bids (and the rejected bids) for specific hotels, giving your bidding strategy the edge.  Kind of like getting to peek at the other guys cards.

Other sites claim to offer this information but I particularly like the simple navigation of this web site.  On the first visit it was easy to use and aligned with the same ‘definitions and formats’ as Priceline, for hotel ratings, zones, and maps.

Beyond the option of manually entering your bid, you can also choose a nifty Autobid feature.  Simply enter your lowball bid and your ‘final offer’ highest bid…you can leave the table and let The Computer play out the hand for you, thereby ‘managing’ the different timeline rules Priceline has for re-bids.  Autobid starts low and automatically raises it in increments until a bid is accepted or the final offer is rejected.

Consider the combination of Priceline and TheBiddingTraveler and you really can get winning hands of 60%+ off normal hotel rates. Hey, a 3-star Hyatt Place in Birmingham for the low $40’s/night ain’t too bad.

Sort of tickles the left-side of my brain…my wife the artist, just says…”make sure they have good beds”.

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theartbiz bitz: Send the Gypsy Train West?

Looking for some feedback from artists with recent experience at summer outdoor art fairs/festivals held in the Mountain West.

If you participated in any shows this summer in this region (I know of several in Colorado and Utah) we would appreciate your comments as to the success, turn-out, would you go back, etc.

Our usual circuit for outdoor shows (affectionately known as the art Gypsy Train) goes to Florida in early spring, then the mid-south and Midwest in late spring, early summer, and then back again in the fall.

It’s a long, costly trip to add some summer Mountain West shows (from our Nashville base) so we are trying to tap into artists with first-hand experience or know someone who participated.

We’d be happy to reciprocate information on shows we have attended.  Click here for our list of shows.

Love to hear from you…just reply to me via this post, or shoot an email to artist

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Barnstorm It!

Recently, against the backdrop of the mighty Smokies, my wife and I scored a family reunion with my two adult sons.  We lodged in a friend’s log cabin with the traditional long, deep front porch, one end filled with rocking chairs, the other a two-person swing.

Mind you we weren’t On Top of Old Smokey…the cabin possessed no dramatic top-of-the-mountain vistas or cool, high-altitude breezes.

More like Just Before the Old Smokey, an area full of hollows and ridge lines which hem-in the steamy, motionless, August air.  Curvy roads criss and cross everywhere, built as paths of least resistance, funneling the locals to work at speeds beyond my comfort level.

The first morning began with the immense pleasure of fresh hot coffee…just me, the birds, the porch swing, and my creative thoughts.  And I wasn’t drinking some stale, country-cabin, rusted-roast.  We’d lugged along my wife’s Keurig, (a fave of coffee divas) with boxes of assorted espresso K-cups and flavored creamer-cups.  Way out of place for East Tennessee hollows, but bless you, dear…wonderful foresight.

As I gently swayed the porch swing, I had no idea that five hours later I would experience the other end of the proverbial swing spectrum.  The extreme end.  The Barnstormer.

Look at the continuum of Swinging…

  • Porch Swing:  soothing, contemplative, romantic, inspirational, memory lane, good for hot coffee and creative thinking.
  • Park Swing:  child-like freedom, giggle fun, breezy, a slight head and tummy rush, good for creative expansion.
  • The Swing Dance:  lindy-hopping, jitter-bugging, bursts of action, joyful, whirling triple-steps, good for a workout and creative expression.
  • The Barnstormer Swing:  45 mph, 230 degrees of rotation, 81 feet high at peak, 60 seconds of swinging-on-steroidal steel arms, good for creative, uh…regurgitation.

The Barnstormer is a theme-park ride named from the aerialists and stunt pilots of the 1920s. Think of yourself strapped to a giant pendulum.   Seated back to back, riders travel progressively higher on each swing of the Barnstormer’s arms, until you are ‘diving’ straight-down and then pulling straight-up to a ‘stalling’ zero-gravity moment.

Commenting on the ride, Dolly Parton, 5′ tall Queen of Country Music, singer-songwriter-instrumentalist-actor-author, whew, AND celebrity-owner of the park (in her sweetest southern drawl)…

“I remember my daddy and granddaddy talking about the old barnstormers that used to do all kinds of crazy stunts above the fields where they’d work crops.”

Dandy, Dolly.  Have ya rode your own Barnstormer yet?

A voice inside teased…of course, she has, so with as much confidence as Congress solving the national debt crisis, I approached the feet of the mighty beast.  A bucket seat with open jaw-bars taunted me with…it’s fine, walk this way, I won’t hurt you, truuuussssstt me.

The ride attendant interrupted my hesitation.  “Sir, you passed the Storage Station,” motioning to rows of open locker cubbies some ten yards back.  “You’ll want to stow your personal articles before boarding the Barnstormer.  Hat, loose change, sunglasses.  Anything in your pockets.  Oh, and take off your sandals…just in case.” 

With a forced chuckle I said…”so I can feel the rush of the wind through my toes?”

He did not laugh, just patiently repeated…“The Storage Station, Sir.” 

Clearly, he had identified me as a Rider Highly Likely to Go Apoplectic and lose control of my feet thereby launching size 9.5′ rubber missiles into the nearby goat-petting, duck-feeding, zoo-thingy.

A sense of doom began to take hold, but it was too late…I obeyed him.

All loose items in storage.  Loaded and locked in.  40 seconds later, 81 feet high, 99% sure this was a bad decision.  The eight year old girl next to me, in delirious, care-free joy, takes hands off the bar and spreads arms out to the rushing wind.  I had the delirious part, not so much joy…gripping for dear life…jaws set tight…Dolly I will find you and your grandaddy if it’s the last…rather be having a root canal…my Last Will isn’t updated...

Then it was over.

Gee that wasn’t so bad.  Stomach pretty steady.  Knees not shaking.

Casually walked over to the wife, shrugged my shoulders, and said…

“Piece of cake, hon…Let’s go find that roller-coaster that drops 90 degrees down and turns upside down.”

A Click-et on the Barnstormer!

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Mrs Cobbler Missed Her Moment – Part 3

In Part 3 we conclude our quest.  Sorry, it took so long, but I had to go to a far away land.  Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you’re new to this.

Go on, we’ll wait.

OK, let’s all settle in to hear the story ‘The Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes’.

Once upon a time, in a far away land, which more specifically was an east borough of London in June 1909, there lived a middle-aged Cobbler and his family.

They made do in a dreary little two-room flat with a single window.  Besides the thin, bespectacled, ever-toiling Mr Cobbler, there was Mrs Cobbler the stout tyrant, Grandma Cobbler mostly deaf and fully senile, and four little Oliver-like, cobbler children, age 6-12.  They were quite downtrodden in every aspect of life, but at least they did not have an Old Woman with many Kids living nearby in a Shoe, and most certainly never partied with any naked, dancing, shoe-making, Elves.

One evening Mr. Cobbler came home in a deep gloom.  A big, fancy new shoe factory had been built in his borough and was producing beautiful clogs of every kind and color, in vast quantities, at prices he could not match.  His business was failing and monies scarce.

Hunched down for dinner at the head of  the warped, plank table he could only stare at his plate, pining for a pint of rich, dark ale from the corner pub.  This was folly as he knew too well what would be served.  Times were hard, just like the bread.

With four grimy-faced kids and a grumpy grandma completing the table, Mrs. Cobbler brisked between stools, ladling watered gruel and a thick, continuous stream of verbal blather to her captive little clan.  Like it or not, they must suffer her nightly barrage of  caustic complaints and wear-down whines.  A drill Sargent in an apron, her barks were too sharp and loud for the humble size of the room, but produced the attention she demanded.

At this point, Mr. C realized his meal was more humble than usual.  Along with old bread and broth, there was normally a warm mug of liquid concoction Mrs. C spun together from boiled apples, crushed grapes, and any other cheap, over-ripe fruits she could bargain from the street carts.  Adding some water, her brew would simmer several hours in a heavy, black pot hung over the fireplace flames.

This night their mugs were empty.

Mustering his courage, Mr. C interrupted Mrs C’s prattle, and as boldly as he dared, demanded an explanation to the missing drinks.

Like the straw that broke the camels back, the drill Sargent woman broke into great, heaving, sobs, bemoaning their lack of funds, the wretched nature of their hovel and life in general.  As if to punctuate this drama with a final proof, she swept her arm towards the cold and empty pot hanging in the fireplace and loudly proclaimed…

“Tonight…The Cobblers cauldron has no juice.”

Grumpy Grandma Cobbler, with her greatly challenged eardrums, heard something a tad different:  The Cobblers children have no shoes.

The very next day, so shocked and shamed was she of her grand-children’s awful fate,  she confessed their plight to her knitting circle friends.  Well, they told some of their friends, who passed it on to some of their friends, and the circle grew.  A good part of the borough now knew the sad, ironic news of the poor, bare-footed, cobbler kids.  In fact, it was repeated so many times…Grandma’s old ‘hearing’, became a famous old ‘saying’.

They did not live happily ever after.  Mr. Cobbler’s cobbling days and marriage were over.  Grandma passed on.  The children grew large calluses and ran away from home.

And Mrs Cobbler, lived alone, poor, and bitter, missing her moment to copyright or license or get any royalties from Grammy’s famous old saying…a saying as it turns out, I think you’d agree…

…was rather cobbled together.  The End.

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