Today would have been my father’s 83rd birthday, and as a gift for the life he helped create, I indulged in a reverie of an artist at a Houston art gallery, who too, no longer has birthdays with his family.
My father fought in a war and John Lennon protested a war. And after my father fought in a war, he protested them, too, and healed himself by growing tomatoes and giving them to neighbors. John wrote songs and drew pictures to order his thoughts about the chaos of life. The artist and musician had as much influence on me as the man who was the warrior and the gardener. And in my youth, the warrior gardener took his “Working Class Hero” dollars and bought many of the vinyl albums for the daughter who loved the musician who sang about “Give Peace a Chance.”
I wasn’t prepared for my reaction at the visual reminders of a nation’s youth and later its sorrow when John was killed. Then, I saw the piece and the tears in my eyes convinced me it should be mine.
The sales woman inquired about my interest and, of course, it came down to a business transaction. Because really that’s what the world is that we live in even though “all you need is love.” I was prepared to pay and asked about options other than the 12-months-same-as-cash advertised in the store. So the petite woman with the beaming smile said she would inquire on my behalf.
She returned and said “yes, it was okay to pay for ½ today and to pay the other ½ when I picked up the piece” on Tuesday.
Until the owner of the Vegas art road show overheard and in front of all of the people in the gallery shouted “NOOOO!” at the saleswoman. And me, the woman with a visceral and automatic reaction to bullies, immediately walked up to the small circle in the middle of the gallery and interjected “you are very rude.” And the 6’2”, 230-pound man said quietly and calmly to me that he was speaking to the petite brunette. And I stood a little taller and said to him that he was speaking to me through her because his answer was about my question and that he was exceedingly rude. And he apologized in a calm manner to me and I redirected him and suggested he apologize to the woman at whom he shouted. He explained his rationale as to why my proposal was not workable. And his reason for his no was not offensive yet his communication of it to the sales lady was which I reiterated for him. And then he replied, “It’s not necessary for me to apologize to her, she works for me.”
And he suddenly walked off and the third person in the small circle inquired if I wanted to pay by credit card. And I told her that I would express my response to her in the same way the gentleman expressed his answer to my question and that was “NOOOO!”
But I wandered to the front of the store where my tears first began to fall and considered the circumstances of the day I had planned to distract myself from the loss of my father and mother in the springtime. And the petite brunette came up to me and gave me a book of John’s that he had co-written with his son, Sean, as a way to make up for the scene. I apologized to her that she was the subject of such bad behavior and the woman and I hugged. And after all was said, I decided to buy the piece because “love is the answer and you know that for sure.”