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I’d like to finally introduce the first coffee painting in the series - what I’ve been hinting at over the past number of months. My work has taken a new direction that I am so passionate about. From the subject, to the composition, and even the coffee roaster - each detail is part of a larger story that I hope to tell. The chapter that is signified in this piece is the heart of a kind, loving, risk-taking man.
Let me tell you about this man. I think my first memory of him might be when I went to visit a friend, at a backyard sing-song on the Olson farm. I didn’t really know anyone there besides my friends who were busy jamming with the crowd of musicians. With a little grin on his face he sat down next to me and whispered “I’m gonna sit here and make Dan jealous”. Just to be clear, at that time Dan and I were a solid “just friends”. This was Dan’s Grandpa. Being pretty much at ease with everybody, he had little trouble making me smile and feel at home. It wasn’t very long before he became my Grandpa Ray... and not just because we share a last name.
Not everyone gets a Grandpa like this. The stories stretch on and on about his huge heart for people. Probably farther than the miles of chocolate cake that his wife served their guests over the years. I wish I could go back in time and pull into their yard; in the middle of the busiest, most stressful season on the farm. Ray would put down his tools, maybe shut down the Steiger, and we’d venture in for coffee. The little wallpapered kitchen, the set of gold butterfly-trim teacups and saucers that everybody’s grandma had. The team of Ray and Verna, working together for a decided goal. I wouldn’t feel small. I would not be invisible. I’d be important.
The things that he enjoyed spoke to a decision he made, over and over again, to love people and love them well.
Love is not something you protect. It’s something you risk.
Each day I'll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need.
My life on earth is but a span
And so I'll do the best I can.
Life's evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day
My light must shine along the way;
I'll sing His praise while ages roll
And try to help some troubled soul.
The only life that will endure
Is one that's kind and good and pure;
And so for God I'll take my stand,
Each day I'l lend a helping hand.
I'll help someone in time of need,
And journey on with rapid speed;
I'll help the sick and poor and weak,
And words of kindness to them speak.
While going down life's weary road
I'll try to lift some trav'ler's load;
I'll try to turn the night to day,
Make flowers bloom along the way.
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