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(George Strait reference)

I have misplaced a friend.  No.  I’ve lost a friend.  Gone with a capital G.  Adios.  Bit the bullet, bought the farm, had a date with the Grim Reaper.  Pushing up daisies, a dirt inspector.

Dixiegirl has left the building.

I thought the world of this girl, this lady.  She had a cancer called non-hodgkins lymphona.  All my exes live with hexes.

No, she was not an ex of mine.  Hell, I only ever knew her digitally, except that we communicated, made each other laugh, showed concern for one another, wanted to outlive one another, maybe, but only barely 🙂 .  Okay, not that close.  But close enough.

She left the farm, bought the bullet, had a date with daisies, shoved the inspector grimly.

But we had some fun.  The last thing I got from her was an explanation of the family Schitt.  Yep.  Rough, homespun humor out of Kansas, and at least a kernel of truth in everything she said.

Briefly, the world, my world, was out of balance.  I was a friend short.  I opted to go to an art show in Norfolk, the Shockley Gardens Art Show.  For a good cause, they advertised.  For a very good cause, they did not know:  I needed to celebrate the passage of my friend to wherever Jayhawks fans go after the final buzzer.  I needed to celebrate with a splash of yellow and maybe some KU blue if forced to, but definitely some vibrant yellow in something that I can plop down on a floor or plop up on a wall and see every time I go into the plopping room so as to remember her, to remember Beth, to remember dixiegirl, so as to feel, and to laugh, and to shed a small, nearly indiscernible tear.  Every time I see that vibrant plop of yellow.

From an art show.

You’d think there would be lots of vibrant yellow at an art show, but you would be mistaken, at least if you went to this art show with my leaning as part of your handicap, given that we all have handicaps of one sort or another.

No vibrant yellow in media and thinking to my liking.  It is likely that I have, now, some digital friends that could conjure up a meaningful plop or splash or dollop or stroke or finesse or caress or point or swirl or dab or jab or touch of yellow for me, but it was hard to find at the Shockley Gardens Art Show.

Held at least partially to provide some funds to the Hope House.  And here I am, Mr. Hope and Humor:  how could I resist?

Corrine and I lit out for Norfolk (a block or so from her home away from home, the hospital where she works and where, incidentally, my life has been saved on a couple or more occasions) and among the Norfolk artista we milled and roamed and brayed and lowed and whinnied and generally tried to enjoy ourselves ‘mongst the art and the ART and the crab cakes and the lemonade, discovering early that art, ART, is not for the proletariat if prices are the fundamental indicator.

I think it is.  Price, that is.  The fundamental indicator, that is.  (Cindy:  Fundamental Indicator is a GREAT name for a band.)

I could afford none of the pieces I might have wanted on a more substantial budget (Cindy:  Substantial Budget would suck as a band name.)

Some folks had prints available.  But vibrant yellow, this was in short supply.  Artists are apparently in their serious mood in Norfolk and environs, OR yellow paint is really expensive because no one was using it, or if they were using it, were using it sparingly.  This, of course, allowing for my eschewing of the gangly and baublic, the three dimensional and the woody, the twinkling and the ceramic, although I nearly bent as desparation set in.

I found it, and found my new friend.  They were not replete with yellow as it happened, and she was mildly black, actually a lovely sort of smooth, dare I say it, mahogany, not elderly but older than the young crowd, cottony curly locks (is cottony permitted in this context?), her, I mean, not the IT, not the art.

Around her were various paintings of various subjects, all of one subject, and I said to her, when first we met (although we had not yet talked) “Ah, whimsy!”  An elderly white lady (it is important, I think, in the moment) looked at me and smiled and went back to talking to the mahogany lady, who looked up only briefly, eye to eye, nodded and said to the white lady, “Everyone says ‘whimsical'”, as if that were bad.  I nodded to air and ultimately left, scouring the remaining realm of ART for some art, a piece to represent my friend Beth, my friend dixiegirl henceforth.

I came back at the end of our day of art worship with my wife in tow (is tow permitted in these circumstances, tow-headed equivalent to cotton-topped in much of the English-speaking world), and showed my wife the work I liked, the work I thought might represent dixiegirl, Beth, but which I could never afford, proletarian that I am, more so now than ever, and Corrine liked some things if not the same things, and went riffling through the prints place (Proletarians shop here), and found some of my choices in print prices and showed them to me and she expected me to buy one and …

They were really nice, and included musical matter, an edge my wife knew would suck me in, and if there was not much vibrant yellow (there was some, in one) there was vibrant yellow in the intent, in the backdrop, in the meaning.  You know:  I could see and feel and taste and hear and touch yellow.  That was good enough for me.

I said to my new friend:  “You know, I said ‘whimsical’ before.  Do you remember me?  I said ‘whimsical’.  But the whimsy would not shout without the pathos there, begging for it to be noticed, there in the pathos.”  She smiled and nodded.

I’ll bet artists agree with everybody.

It’s a black kid eating a watermelon, but you make of it what you want you effing white devil!

Okay, I’m projecting 🙂

I began to bargain with her.  Corrine later asked, “Are you supposed to bargain with artists?  Don’t they find that distasteful?”

Um, not if they want to eat, Corrine.  “Yeah, I think they do, like musicans and even nurses and programmers, Corrine, but they have to eat, too.”

Not much haggling.  I said I had this amount and wanted the two, the sax and the piano. A deal?  She said don’t tell anyone, and I said, it’s about to rain and my friend is waiting.

I didn’t say that.  It would have been really cool, especially if we were in a movie or something, a play maybe.  I said, “Do I look like I can afford your stuff?  Besides, these are prints; they won’t appreciate.”

That was a kiss of death, nearly, but in boomerang fashion, I suspect, she realized I really was a boob (not a breast, certainly not one of Angelina’s sophisticated but Gone with a capital G breasts, but rather a rube of a boob) and she went for it.

And I have a new friend whose vibrant if tacit splash, dollop, bag, can, tin, bale, box, sock, tram, pram, trolley of yellow is on my wall in two doses of music for dixiegirl, Beth.

The circle remains unbroken, yin and yang conjoined slenderly, music, sweet music, and memories of Beth, dixiegirl, wafting through the echoing chambers of my heart, my mind, my soul.