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Thoughts from the Managing Editor | June 8, 2018

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Some of us artists are fortunate enough to have someone in our life who always supported us emotionally and led us to believe that we had enough innate talent and creativity that our work warranted being shown to others.

For me, it was my grandmother, whom my family calls Maw-Maw. If it weren’t for her, I never would have had the confidence to put pencil to paper– and later paint to canvas– to try my hand at making art. Each and every time I created a drawing and gave it to her, she acted as though Rembrandt himself had bestowed upon her one of his greatest works. She’d say it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen and then secure it to the fridge with a magnet for all– and especially her– to see.

Because of Maw-Maw, I believed in myself as an artist. Because of her faith in me, I’ve gone on to have several solo art shows, as well as display my work in galleries in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Long Beach and Signal Hill– and even twice in a museum. Truly, if it weren’t for her undying confidence in me, none of those accomplishments would have happened.

This week, Maw-Maw reached her own accomplishment– she turned 90 years young! To honor her, I wrote a little “poem” (I use that word loosely because I’m certainly no Lord Byron), which I put into a card to her. I’m sharing it here, so that the world will know what a special woman she is.

You’ll notice I used past tense a lot in it; that’s because a few years ago, she had a stroke, and she isn’t able to cook all the wonderful meals and do the immaculate housework she used to do. (She would even iron the pillowcases and bed sheets, for goodness sake!) However, she’s still got her comic spirit, level-headed advice and welcoming, loving embraces to offer everyone with whom she comes in contact.

Photo by Sherry Norton
Bertha Parker, also known as “Maw-Maw,” during her 90th-birthday party on June 3, in Biloxi, Mississippi

You made us the best pancakes,
While suffering with headaches.

Everyone said you’re the best cook–
That your recipes should be in a book.

Pecan cake, potato salad and oyster dressing,
Gumbo, shrimp spaghetti– your food was such a blessing.

Oh, wait! And the best French toast!
Deep-fried in oil, but it was the most!

That may sound a bit risky,
But it was soft inside and the outside was crispy.

You let us watch what we wanted on TV,
And you’d even serve cake and coffee.

With you providing the best food around,
I’m surprised I don’t weigh 300 pounds.

I always loved every chance
of seeing you and Paw-Paw dance.

You taught us to respect one another
And showed our Mom how to be a great mother.

You were the glue that held our family together
Even through all the stormy weather.

You provided such a welcoming place
Of warm blankets and curtains of lace.

Your house was always the neatest,
And you’re by far the sweetest!

Happy 90th, Maw-Maw!

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Thoughts from the Managing Editor | June 8, 2018