I cannot resist telling you about last weekend with my grandchildren. I know I risk being labeled a doting old grandmother who thinks her grandchildren are different and bores the pants of everyone. However this was a very special weekend for me and some of what happened may well appear in future paintings.
Those of you who read my last week's letter know that Grandson Sean and I enjoy each other's company immensely. I hope his openness with me continues as he grows older. I think it will. It is the same feeling of confidence that I shared with Granddad Buckley, who I credit with having given me the confidence to beat the problems of being learning different.
Sean does not have a learning problem but he does have a vivid imagination that sometimes gets him into trouble one way or another. I was the same way.
Ginny, my youngest daughter, borrowed Sean from Mary for Labor Day Weekend and brought him to my home in Mathews, along with her two children, Pico, the calm quiet artist and Chiara, the lively ringleader who can think of endless adventures for herself and Sean. The two have a love-hate relationship which leads to the greatest fun and endless laughter. Ginny's husband Corrado was in Italy, visiting his father and Malcolm is in Panama working on his book. We had a ball in the absence of the two men.
We started the weekend at the Jamestown Colony where the children were intrigued by the replicas of the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and Discovery, the ships that carried the first settlers on the six month voyage to the James River. It is hard to believe that one hundred and eight people lived for six months in the tiny living spaces provided on these little ships.
In 2007 the Colony will be four hundred years old and I am thinking about how to portray its early days in a painting.
On leaving the ships, minor disaster struck us when Sean somehow managed to "fall" into the James River. He emerged soaked from his knees down. We left the Colony to buy him new shoes and socks. Before we got to Walmart, Chiara had managed to pour an orange soda over her shoes, thus also qualifying for replacements. It is a good thing I do not have them every day of the year.
Back home the combination of the creek and our paddle boat provided prolonged entertainment. The paddle boat that cost about three hundred dollars ten years ago has earned its keep many times over. When a family appeared in our waters paddling expensive kayaks, their children looked with envy at the fun our explorers were having in this simple craft.
We watched "Gone with the Wind". Everyone but Sean was enjoying the film.
"This is the worst film I have ever seen," declared Sean. "Everyone is dying all the time."
When Rhett Butler was leaving Scarlet and walking towards the door of the house, Sean said, "Now I suppose he is going to get killed by a car."
The burning of Atlanta was just too much for Sean. He left the room again proclaiming this to be his "very worst film ever."
We had more excitement when Sean accidentally let go of the mooring rope of the paddle boat while we were docking it for the night. With the tide beginning to take it out to sea, I struggled to paddle my skiff to the rescue, while sending the children into the house because a storm with lightening was approaching.
When I got back to the house Sean said, "Now PB, don't take a bath. It is dangerous to take a bath while there is lightening around."
On Sunday we had a hamburger lunch at the Yacht Club and swam in the pool. It was a perfect ending to the Summer.
Malcolm reports good progress from Panama where he starts on his book at five each day and continues undisturbed at the house on the farm. He finds two hour stints with breaks to rest his eyes from the strain of the computer work best for him.
"It is like running a marathon," he says. "After getting everything down on paper the first time, I thought I was near the finish, but I was really only at the seven mile mark. The polishing of the second draft is the hard middle part. Now I see another three or so chapters are needed to bring the story of the farm to the reality of today."
It seems he did not know that you do not leave the second half of the contents of a tin of baked beans in the fridge; at least not while it is still in the tin. He also is a slow learner.
We are now in the count down time for the Dayton Convention. The following weekend I have an open house at my barn studio in Waynesboro and then on Monday, October 13, Malcolm and I head for Italy where I will be etching with Becky.