Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Translative Christmas...What Can Turn Something Into Beauty?

Once upon a time, a long time ago there was a girl who wanted to be artistically talented more than just about anything.  Her brother could create on a whim, but everything she tried her hand at in the art and creative process looked the same, bad.  Her specialty; stick figures.  Every Christmas  her mother and brother made colorful and whimsical decorations.  She kind of felt like Rudolph only, instead of not playing any reindeer games, it was not playing with glitter and glue.  In the seventh grade it was required that students take a half year of art.  In a way this girl was kind of excited about it but deep within her she knew it wasn't going to be a wonderful experience.  In one semester students were to participate in all forms of creativity.  Carving out potato stamps wasn't too hard but creating something on the canvas of colorful stamps was difficult.  Her teacher felt sorry for her total lack of drawing skills and penciled in a horse that would be easy for the girl to paint and fill in.  Then came the ceramic/clay portion of study.  As she contemplated what she would design, it came to her....Christmas.  By the time everything was fired and finished, it would be close to the Christmas holidays.  Now was her chance to contribute something Christmassy but what was Christmas and easy to make for one so artistically challenged?  A penguin.  Really, how hard could that be?  As they began the work of forming and shaping, the teacher reminded the students to texturize and add depth to their creations.  That teacher probably shouldn't have said that to the girl, because if a little texture was good, a whole lot would be so much better.  The penguin had texture where no texture had ever been before.  Finally, the day arrived.  The penguin was fired and finished.  The girl was overjoyed with her creation, because it did actually have the characteristics of a penguin, well, kind of, sort of.  She brought the penguin home and planned to do the unveiling at dinner with the whole family present.  The unveiling didn't go the way she had imagined it time and again.  Everyone laughed and made fun of her hard fought C level art work.  The girl's spirit was crushed as her mother took the penguin that had been renamed the buzzard by the family and put it in the hall closet, behind the tablecloths.  She was humiliated and hurt because in a swift second her creation had gone from something made for Christmas to it being called something that only eats dead things, road kill.  The little buzzard resided hidden in that closet for several years, forgotten by everyone, even the girl.  Life sped by and soon the girl was in college and away from home.  When it came time to return back home for the Christmas break, her mom and one of her mom's friends came to school to bring the girl home for the holidays. 

I don't remember much of anything about the ride home but as I came in the house loaded down with suitcases and no surprise here, all my books, something caught my eye.  My mom stood by the table beaming where the once prized creation was now placed, it was the Christmas buzzard with red and green yarn tied into a bow around his neck.  It is funny how absence, plus decorative seasonal yarn can make a lovely addition to the family Christmas treasures.  From that point on that old penguin now with festive yarn,from long ago, dubbed a buzzard, along with time made something so ugly and hideous, something beautiful and treasured.  He found his rightful place every year after that. 

When my parents moved for a brief time to Georgetown, the Christmas buzzard disappeared.  My mother called me when she was putting out Christmas decorations and she was near tears because the buzzard was no where to be found.  His absence was felt that Christmas. We were saddened by his loss which actually was our loss.  Later that year while mom was going through some things, she came across CB and the next time I visited her, she gave him back to me.  She had been so upset that she had temporarily lost track of him and she thought it was time for Roy and me to enjoy CB in our own home.   Now, he is even treasured more than just for Christmas.  Since that day, CB has been out on display for the whole 365, still with that red and green yarn tied around his neck by my mom.

What a story of something created with the best intentions that  so quickly becomes something of ridicule and disdain. and purposely put away for a time and rediscovered quite by accident.  An ugly duckling with a little dressing up and a new found appreciation was just like that ugly little Christmas tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Not appreciated by the crowd or maybe it was just Lucy who wanted an aluminum Christmas tree, which was all the rage back in the '60's. Then when that little, broken down, tree was festively adorned with Linus' blanket and the winning Christmas decorations from Snoopy's  dog house it became something worthy of cheer and singing. 

 CB and penguin.  Am I the only one who sees the resemblance?  OK, I know, there is none but humor me. 
 There is the obvious parallel to our lives before and after knowing Christ but this particular story of a penguin changed to buzzard and then becoming something of joy would be very symbolic of my life story.  But, that is for me to ponder and it is for you to enjoy my 7th grade creation, which by the way is alive with texture, buzzard. 
Oooooooo, big breath,O oooooooooooo
I also vow to stay away from clay and all things pottery for the rest of my life.

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