I am in Mathews waiting for daughter Mary and her children to arrive. They are staying with me for two days and we are going to spend part of the time at Busch Gardens. Sean and I will be looking for excuses to avoid the scary rides. We don't have the confidence of the others that nothing can go wrong and besides my tummy gets left behind when my body is dropped from a great height.
Down here, the figs are ripe. I have two trees and enough figs to supply the neighborhood. Some I pick and eat straight from the tree and with others, I am making fig preserve. The preserve is great when loaded onto a piece of brie cheese but soft cheese is a no no for me as I continue to try to shed the pounds. Everyone is telling me I have lost weight and the scales confirm that I am down by six pounds. I am quite encouraged.
The final weekend of my month of events was spent in Waynesboro.
On Friday, 58 teachers from surrounding school districts spent the morning at the Museum familiarizing themselves with the iconography of my art and sharing ideas on how to use art in the teaching of other subjects. The program was the combined effort of Corrado Gabellieri and Bonnie Stump, Museum director and curator respectively, and of Dell Phillpot of the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children's Education. Congratulations to all three of you on another excellent educational event!
There is a growing use of the Museum by local educators and this delights me. With school budgets restricting and, in some cases, eliminating art programs, the museum provides an alternative for art activities. Our docents enjoy the visits by students and the interest shown by the young gives us all encouragement.
In combination with the Foundation, the Museum and the Society are increasing the number of specialist workshops for teachers and of classes for preschoolers. This expanded role of the Museum is very important to me and I encourage its continued growth.
On Friday evening the owners and staff of galleries and frame shops that carry my art assembled at The Barn for an informal get together before Saturday and Sunday's seminars and conferences. Several of these galleries have represented me for more than twenty years. John and Pat Byers of The Prince Royal Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, and Margaret and Michael Moser of Moser Gallery in Fairfax, Virginia, have been Moss dealers for more than thirty years.
On Saturday afternoon we took an hour's break from the serious stuff of planning marketing strategies to be entertained by André Viette, the horticulturist and author, whose weekly program "In the Garden with André Viette" is carried by eighty radio stations. André imparted a fascinating verbal cascade of gardening tips mingled with humorous tales from his fifty years of commercial horticulture.
Saturday night the Museum grounds were the scene of festivity as we celebrated the bond of enduring friendship between the gallery owners and ourselves. South River Grill, our neighboring restaurant, served delicious food under tents on the lawn and "Off Track", a Waynesboro band, headed by a local preacher and with a school principal on the drums, provided excellent music for us to dance to. Corrado was MC and my oldest son John and Maureen, his significant other, led the dancing.
Once again, the departing guests described the weekend as the best ever.
The Coming Week:
Malcolm is now on his way to Panama, where he will go into seclusion on the farm and devote himself to the final push on his book about the crazy Englishman.
In next week's letter, I will let you know how I make out at Busch Gardens and give you a first glimpse of the start of the Ohio Convention painting and maybe the completed image of the Christmas painting.
Proud to be a New Yorker:
Tab Hudgins (most people in the county seem to be Hudgins, all descendents of four brothers who arrived here from Wales) lives on Possum Point and thereby is an authority on possums or coons as they are called down here.
Tab is an avid gardener, renowned for his strawberries and tomatoes. One year Tab was having coon trouble in the form of a night time visitor to his strawberries.
"A friend told me what to do." Tab related. "He told me to get up in the morning and put on a clean white T-shirt and then work all day in the shirt and get it real sweaty. Then before it got dark, to spread the T shirt across the track the coon was taking to reach the strawberries. He told me the coon would not cross the shirt.
"I did as he said, breaking open a brand new pack of T shirts. I also mulched the bed with straw"
In the morning I could not see the shirt. I found it a little way off covered with red strawberry stain. The coon had used the shirt as a picnic blanket in preference to eating his meal on the mulch."