A lifetime ago I took my grandparents to a museum at Harvard. After spending hours touring galleries, I asked my Papa, a steady man of few words, which painting was his favorite. With no further prompting he quickly said, “the shoes…there they were, just three pair of shoes…” and his eyes filled with tears. The only other time I’d seen him show even the slightest hint of emotion was the day we buried his father. The painting was a Van Gogh. I can only assume he connected not just to the simplicity of the still life but to the unspoken history of the owners. Having lived through the Depression, he’s no stranger to the wear and tear of labor. So, for his 70th birthday (over 15 years ago), I did my best to recreate the shoes for him. Today I got to visit them both.
ps: Tonight I was confronted by a pan of frosted brownies. I won. Tomorrow I take on an entire wedding cake but I’m feeling strong.