Sunday, June 08, 2008

raspberry sky

My sister and I used to spend the summer at my great grandparent's ( Jack and Lil's' ) house every year. They had a wonderful garden that we would pick fruits and veggies to eat for dinner every night. We would also pick blackberries and raspberries out of the neighbor's yard. His name was Joe Simms.

At the time ( early 1980's), Joe Simms was a 75 year old retired "carpenter". He smoked 200 cigarettes a day. He was about 5'7" and weighed about 94 pounds, and he wore the same dirty "wife-beater" undershirt with dress pants ( also dirty) every single day of the year. He was a carpenter and I assume his skill at his trade could be determined by the fact that he had roughly four fingers and a thumb remaining. He would hold his cigarette butts ( I say "butts" because I never saw him hold one over 2 cm long) between his thumb and pinky. To top it all off, he was a complete and total jerk. Always yelling at me, my sister, and my cousin to "get outta my Goddamn yard!!". I was like 10 or 11. This guy was a real cartoon character.

In my family, there is a thing called...a "Joe Simms" story. There are a million funny ones. Stories like the time he rode through the Wendy's drive-thru with his riding-mower because he had his driver's license taken away. The funny part is not the lawn mower through a restaurant drive-thru. The funny part is that they called the police on him becuase he had driven through with the blade down and inadvertently cut up the little cord that activated the speaker...and then attempted to evade the authorities.

One summer, my grandfather had shown us how to take a switch from his apple tree and fling apples with it ( he had a huge yard). One time Joe Simms yelled at us for flinging apples into his yard and said he was going to call "the cops on you little bast-edds". I ended up flinging one last apple as he was walking away and subsequently hit him in the back. We ran inside and lied to Gramma saying "everyone knows he lies...".

Actually, I think Grampa ultimately was the one who got in trouble for showing "the kids" the apple thing.

raspberry sky, 2008

8" x 8", oil on gessoed panel

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