Months ago, back in springtime, the Spring Chickens (aka: my parents) asked me if I would like to accompany them out west. West: points beyond Oklahoma City - although that was one of our planned stopping points.
You see, the Rooster of the pair needed to take new sculpture out to his art galleries, and the Hen of the pair thought I should come along. And I concurred. But there was never a time when the Spring Chickens and I could coordinate what I thought would be a leisurely trip along the Santa Fe Trail together, sight-seeing and such. (So, so much more on this, later.) In the springtime, I was busy with seasonal cherry harvest, and then came summer - who know what happened there, but THANK GOODNESS we did not go during the hot months. I would surely have melted. And when I called the Spring Chickens in September, telling them that October was THE optimal month for travel, the Rooster (my Dad) explained that he could not get away because he was training for a 5K that month.
The Spring Chickens are 80+ years old. They do not act their age.
Finally, we three threw a dart and landed on traveling mid-November, but alack and alas, with the snow forecast, we three huddled over the phone and opted to wait "one more week".
Fast-forward to this week, and you might envision us: FINALLY! Westward-Ho! We three met up in Oklahoma City for our first stop: The Howell Gallery of Fine Art. That gallery is exquisite; so much fine art right smack in middle America:
Howell Gallery of Fine Art
From Oklahoma City, we jaunted-loped-galloped to Amarillo, Texas. This was such a fun stop, to a gallery in a WHOLE MALL of art. Mall, as in your local "Dillard's-Sears-JC Penny" place. Except, those retail haunts are just that: haunts. Ann Crouch purchased this mall and converted it into a tremendous enclave of art and artists. The mall includes over fifty art galleries, an art school for the Amarillo public, an art library (this Dillards-sized), and all totaled, ~ 120 art-related spaces, all for the Amarillo public to embrace:
Ann Crouch, owner of the Sunset Gallery, is so very interesting and fun to talk with. She is native to Tennessee, and her accent is wonderful. She was married to a Texas oilman. He had her get her pilot's license so that she could fly the oil workers back and forth from their jobs. She had always had an inclination for art, and she says she always wanted to open an art gallery, but her husband did not support that. In her words: "He passed before I did, and so I got my gallery." I thoroughly enjoyed my hour talking with Ann.
Did you notice that I said "hour" with Ann? Because that is what it was (actually, a bit more than an hour), but nevertheless, the Spring Chickens and I were keen on getting back in the van to head further west. Next Stop : Santa Fe, New Mexico!!
The Spring Chickens have done this whole trek several times a year, for, maybe thirty years? They have a routine. They are like homing pigeons in the art world. They land, they schmooze briefly, they drop off some art, and they flit off for the next destination.
I, on the other hand, new to Art Land, want to sightsee, embrace the locale and the culture, visit with the locals, and so on. Well! That was not going to happen on this trip unless I sighted and saw and sighted some more, on this whirlwind, whistle-stop, We're Gonna Get There and Back trip with the Spring Chickens. We arrived in Santa Fe in the morning just before any art gallery would be open. My Dad and I took a lap around the Plaza and headed back to Mom, who was standing guard over sculpture in the car. ((I should note here that Dad and I went into the Basilica, which was very pretty. One will have to Google it to see photos, because heaven knows there was no time for me to take my camera around.) The three of us headed into the Joe Wade Fine Art Gallery, met with the owner, dropped off a few pieces of sculpture, and then: BOOM! we three were off for parts east again: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig.
What did I see along the way? Pretty mesas. Colors in nature that I do not see in rural Kansas. I saw fields of cotton! And, of course, some really nice works of art - paintings, sculpture, textiles, and more.
What in the world did we do during all that driving? We sure did laugh a lot. We discussed politics. We mused about Wagner's brain, and what Beethoven must have been thinking and hearing in his head. All that art in so little time gave us pause for all sorts of thoughts and opinions.
I had a ball on this trip. I am thankful for a lot of things: We got there safely, and back. The Spring Chickens are still happy, ready, and willing to take these jaunts. I am thankful that they invite me along. I sure do enjoy our time together, be it in hilarious discussion of where our next meal will be, or in serious discussion of politics, religion, or family bonds.
I wish every family could enjoy trips like this.