I enjoy admiring Fine Art. I can look at paintings for hours on end and find something new in them each time I look. As a child, I loved the action figures of the day and they caused me to imagine what it would be like to be them… I was a storyteller in training. Indeed, MJ and I have few mutual enjoyments that surpass our affinity for Art. The Arts are a window of our souls. Whether it be an intriguing story or mystery or a lovely painting…we of the human family are engaged and excited by the stirring up of our hearts with the human message that Art brings us.
Billy B. had seldom seen a more exquisite painting. It was an outdoor pastoral that was hanging in Downs Furniture Store…where he had recently been employed…and he was 17 years old. The painting had a price tag of $50 on it and that was like $500.00 to Billy B. However when he inquired regarding being able to put the work of art on lay-away until he could save the money to purchase it for Neva J. for Christmas…David said that he could have it at cost and that he could buy it at $5 per week. He was in ‘Hog Heaven’ as Neva J. often said.
Chet and Billy B. took to the road on a snowy Christmas Eve with the magnificent painting in the back seat of Chet’s 57′ Chrysler. They stopped at Mr. Snack in Christopher, Illinois to enjoy a couple of Italian Beef Sandwiches and played Christmas In The Country on the old car radio. Billy B. could not shake the deja vu of having seen the scene in the Christmas Painting…a long time ago. ‘It must be my imagination…Chet..but I could swear that I have been in the location of the Plein Air Painting,’ said Billy B. ‘It has a magic about it,’ replied Chet. ‘When I was looking at it before you wrapped it in Christmas paper…I felt like that I was there under the big oak tree…and I even saw me in the painting…under the tree,’ exclaimed Chet. ‘It is a rather timeless painting,’ noted Billy B.
Chet wheeled into Neva J.s’ driveway in Eldorado. There was Neva J. with her arms opened wide and a smile from ear to ear on her face. ‘I have opened a fresh box of wine…Franzia…and I have the wine glasses out for our enjoyment, Neva J. proclaimed! When Billy B. and Chet entered the kitchen…which was adjacent to the coal stove…that they kept fire red hot…they saw the Wine Glasses…they were 16oz glasses and Neva J. had already filled them…to the brim… As the three of the Holiday Reveliers quickly shed their winter coats and scarfs and sat down…they began to imbibe the fruit of the vine. Peels of laughter resounded through the house and suddenly Neva J. said, ‘Let me show you the New Room.’ Now the New Room was the enclosed front porch…that Demetrius had been working on for months. It was resplendent in a red and black theme…which were Neva J.s’ favorite colors. ‘Mom…I have a Christmas gift for you,’ announced Billy B. As Billy B. and Chet brought in the Christmas Painting…as it took both of them to carry it…Billy B. said, ‘When you unwrap the gift…tell me if it reminds you of anything that you have seen before.’ Neva J. began unwrapping the Painting and suddenly she stopped abruptly as she gazed at the scene. ‘This is my home when I was a girl in Mt. Vernon,’ cried Neva J. ‘There is Mom and Vema and Wanda and ‘Fetch’…which was her nickname for her brother, Gene, and there I am swinging on the old tire swing in our front yard,’ Billy B.s’ Mom said with tears in her eyes. ‘And there you are Billy B….standing on the large hill that was next to our house,’ said Neva J. ‘What do you see, Chet, asked Billy B.? ”I see us here at your Moms’ in Eldorado…and we are presenting her with her Christmas Painting and there is my dearly departed Dad…waving to me…from the front porch,’ replied Chet as he wiped the tears from his eyes.
‘What do you see in the Christmas Painting,’ Chet asked Billy B.? ‘ I see Aaron and Jonathon and MJ waiting for me to come home from work at the University…and laughing and dancing around our six-foot Chrismas Tree in our little four-room house in Elkville…and hugging me and me hugging them as we unwrapped our Christmas Gifts to each other,’ replied Billy B. ‘I see the Little Porcelain Nativity Scene that MJ and I purchased for our first Christmas with Aaron, Billy B. said in little more than a whisper…
‘It is a bit of Christmas Magic,’ said Neva J. ‘It is a Christmas Miracle,’ said Chet. ‘More Wine,’ proclaimed Billy B.