Dear Friends,

This is going to be a busy week and so I am planning to write this letter as its goes along. That way I will have something to send to Linden by my Tuesday morning deadline. It is Linden who puts my weekly letter into its final shape and I do not like to be late for her.

I got back to Mathews this morning for the first time since leaving for Italy. Waiting for me was a mail carton filled with birthday cards. I am overwhelmed! If I were to answer each, I would not have time to write this letter, let alone to paint. I thank all who sent cards. I have started to read your messages and will continue tonight until I have read each one.

Friday Evening:
Malcolm and I left home at four this morning to catch a flight to Des Moines and spend the afternoon at the Blank Park Zoo. I have recently completed a painting of some of the animals to help raise funds for the zoo's expansion. With state money no longer available, the zoo is in need of all the help it can get. Well managed zoos are a very important part of our children's education and we cannot afford to neglect them.

"Remember you do not disturb the animals," I heard a father tell his boys. "You observe and learn and all that you leave behind is your footprints."

If our children grow up with an understanding of how all animals, including ourselves, are interdependent and a part of the whole, they will make informed choices when their turn comes and there will be hope for global conservation. Standing close to endangered species, the urgency of preservation becomes even more real than when spoken of in the classroom or on TV. I am a strong believer in the importance of zoos at this crucial time in the health of our planet.

Paige Belieu of Indianola, Iowa, got to ride the camel with Pat.

Giraffe Talk.

Saturday Morning:
It is six fifteen in the morning in Ames, Iowa. Malcolm and I awoke early, both of us filled with memories of the warmth and love of the one hundred and eighty friends who joined us for dinner last night.

It is twenty-five years since our first experience of an Iowan welcome and the start of these treasured freindships. Together we have rejoiced in births of children and grandchildren and together we have grieved over lost loved ones.

My mother would never miss an excuse to fly here to join us. The stories of her antics and humor have become legend. I have learned that when being driven to the airport to catch her flight home, Mom invariably inveigled her driver to stop at a hot dog stand. After extracting promises of secrecy, she would order a large dog with mustard and sauerkraut.

Each return to Iowa is a family reunion filled with hugs and words of encouragement. It is no wonder that we call this our second home. Last night Taylor Evenson, about to become a teenager, sat beside her mother Jean, who was a teenager when we first met. Jean is now a board member of the Society, just as her mother, Marlene Ham, had been in the earliest days of its formation. The endurance of these relationships gives me strength. I thank you all. I only wish there had been more time. One evening is not enough. There is much more I wanted to share and now I am thinking of all that went unsaid.

"It was like a family reunion."

The dinner, organized by the Society, raised more than $5,000 for the Foundation's work with children's education. I thank you all.

I have been standing at the window while Malcolm transcribes my thoughts. It is a perfect morning as the rising sun floods the countryside with soft golden light. A few moments ago, a rounded shape emerged from the trees, a hot air ballon, that climbed gracefully into the sky. Now there are twenty-nine of them drifting towards us on a gentle, unhurried breeze.

I know the balloons have nothing to do with my being here but they add a magical touch of shape and color to the landscape and are inspiring thoughts for another balloon race painting. Thank you God for a great start to the day.

Saturday night.
An unexpected final surprise in what has been a month of 70th birthday celebrations. After a full day of meetings, the Society's board of directors adjorned for a short rest before reassembeling for dinner. When Malcolm opened the door to the hotel's private dining room, the board was standing in a semi-circle waiting to greet me with balloons, toasts and song. After dinner they presented me with a wonderful jacket, scarf and hat which I immediately modeled. Thank you board and thank you for all your hours of voluntary work on the behalf of our membership.

Pat in high spirits.

Judy and Leland Roe drove us to the airport at six this morning. Judy is a Society board member and famous for the program she instigated for providing handmade dolls to comfort children in hospitals.

Monday Evening.
Back in Mathews. Last night we stayed with Mary and family in Radford and this morning, Kerry, her husband, operated on Malcolm's worn left knee cartlidge at the New River Valley Hospital. When I went to collect him, Malcolm was sitting in bed enjoying a breakfast of coffee, toast, jam, graham crackers and peanut butter surrounded by a bevy of nurses. He was in no hurry to leave.

We fitted in this "event" today so he will be fit to dance the twist at the Richmond Convention next month and the Society's Chapter Leadership Training in Charlottesville in August, where the entertainment theme will set the fifties and sixties.

Next weekend I will be back in Waynesboro for the Musuem and Barn Studio open house. I am looking forward to another three days of being with friends. With all the rain we have been having, the museum and barn grounds are decked in a lush green and looking their best. The forecast is for a weekend of sunshine. Keep your fingers crossed.

Q: What does the Museum Director do on his day off before the Barn Show?
A: Trims the Barn bushes with the help of Pat.
Q: Where is Malcolm while all this work is taking place?
A: Behind the camera.

Until next week.


The Butterfly House:
I stole away while the Society board was meeting and visited the Butterfly House at the Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University. Like so many spieces, butterflies have suffered from our changed inviromnment with its pollution and insecticides. Look out for a butterfly print some time in the future. Al Sandstrom was my photographer.


The Moss Portfolio
HC 69 Box 17118 Poplar Grove Lane
Mathews, VA 23109
(800) 430-1320
©P. Buckley Moss 2003

Past Issues

Contact us
for more information
about Pat and her art.

For questions or
comments about this
site, click here.