Scrapbook One Hundred Ten…

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NOVEMBER 2014

Marvin Fenn Park

 

An old buddy sent me this photo. He was right guard on the 1948 Temple high school losing football team. I didn’t make the line-up that year.

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I knew there was a park in Temple named for my father but I’d never seen this sign before. The guy who made it is an accomplished poet:

NO
SMOKING

NO
GLASS

NO PARKING
ON GRASS

My father would be proud if he knew about this honor, especially since the lake in his park is full of big bass. f

Scrapbook One Hundred Nine…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

Hothgar

 

Here’s another volume in our library. It was written by two friends of mine who are among the most important players in the intriguing world of paleoarchaeology.

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A few special copies were made just to keep for fun.

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The Clovis point embedded in this padded leather binding is a reproduction of Big Red, which is made of jasper from the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. It has faint traces of hematite on its surface, and may be the finest of its kind yet unearthed. The person who made the projectile lived in ice-colored surroundings, possibly 12,000 years ago.

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I like to put things in my books that relate to the subject. In this case it’s mammoth hair resting on the first page, which is a very thin slice of tree bark. The original 113 ink drawings that illustrate the book are pocketed at the left.

When I first clutched Big Red, and closed my eyes, I envisioned a long-haired, severely whiskered man sitting on a log knapping a Clovis point. Perhaps his name was Hothgar. The mountain winds moaned and wailed at his loins as he toiled. His small clan of wanderers stood anxiously by as a group of giant mammoths grazed in the distant view.

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When the point was completed, and hafted, Hothgar stalked a calf that had strayed from the herd and with a mighty throw, his Clovis spear point penetrated the 2,000 pound body of his prey.

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The hunter quickly retreated to the safety of a nearby cottonwood knot and waited. As the herd ambled on, Hothgar and his tribe followed, for perhaps a week or more, until the young animal succumbed to its wound. At last the nomadic family ate. And after a few weeks Hothgar again sat on a log and began to knap.

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Scrapbook One Hundred Eight…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

NOTE FROM JB

 

JB is a good friend although we’ve never met. He researched my family like he worked for the KGB, and mailed me all sorts of things, like my father’s college annual from TCU. I guess he reads Dal’s blog or he would not have sent me this email. F

Hey Forrest,

Just checked it to see what you are up to.  I’m going to send you a little care package to cheer you up:-)

I grew up in a house where I had to dig through a double-wide drawer of literally hundreds of mismatched forks, spoons and knives to find one that not only suited my fancy,  but was actually clean (often had to clean it to use it).  When I moved out on my own, I started stacking my forks neatly in a plastic drawer organizer that a poor college student could afford.  It helped that I could only afford an ultra-cheap, sheet-metal, press-cut, four piece “silverware” set (less to organize).  Of course I had to get roommates to keep rental costs low and that is where I had to learn tolerance.  There isn’t a male college student on this planet that would ever stack their forks or untangle a telephone cord, or clean the toilet for that matter.  I finally found a roommate that generally didn’t make a mess and put his dishes in the old portable dishwasher I acquired, so we didn’t have to fight over dishes….but he just wouldn’t stack the forks!  I realized then that there are some things we each do that you cannot impose on others.  It was a valuable lesson and important to my happy marriage.   My wife and children are never going separate and stack the forks according to size.  That is my “cross to bear”.

All my best,
JB

Scrapbook One Hundred Seven…

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NOVEMBER 2014

 

People Just Don’t Understand

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Don’t you just hate that? Look at it! With copious people wandering by that spot you’d think someone would pause for two seconds and untangle the poor phone cord? Why would anyone stand there talking and twisting the thing in the first place? It’s so jumbled the sound probably gets distorted going through it.

And that’s not all, there’s always a write way to do something and a wrong one. Maybe I’m just too meticulous, but for me it’s important to keep my priorities straight.

 

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Please don’t tell me that I’m the only Homo Sapien on the entire planet who cares about these things?

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It’s been a bad day, I mean besides my hair. It’s the last date to get my driver’s license renewed or take both the stupid written test, and the driver’s exam. Just because I’m over eighty I have do it every year.

In my rush to get over to the MVD I ran out of gas. It was right in the middle of the busiest street in town, and because I forgot to plug my idiot phone in I had to just sit there until the honks brought every cop in town to my “location.” Big deal, you’d thought I robbed a bank or something.

A cab brought me home and I’m resting comfortably by Tesuque and my warm little fire, but I guess they towed my car to the Walmart parking lot. That’s ok because I don’t ever plan to drive again. I’ll just stay home and keep my eye on the telephone lines.

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Six…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

Dal, this lady is a beautiful, petite, medical doctor and intellectual who takes her two dogs into the mountains searching for the treasure. She brings a different flavor to the chase. Maybe your bloggers will enjoy her slant, slightly edited and forwarded with her permission.f

 

Dear Mr. Fenn,

How have you been?  I hope you and your family are healthy and happy.  As always, there is too much I would like to tell you.  Half are stories about my recent adventures.  Half are thoughts that I believe pop like balloons into my consciousness, inspired and inflated by your subliminal airs.  Lucky for you that my memory is that of a brain damaged caterpillar’s rather than an elephant’s (or so my sister has informed me).  I may have told you already that I have been prioritizing actual exploring over writing of my roamings.  Tengo prisa for so many reasons. Winter will be here too soon and access to my favorite hunting grounds will be difficult.  The reliability of the 4 runner has been in question and hippo-worthy mud puddles have made for some interesting moments. JCs gray-gowned patience is exhausted despite my efforts to spare him from my daily “discoveries” within your riddle.  And I’m afraid that the heft of reality and repeated failures may tip my scales, outweighing the lightness of imagination and hope. The best laid schemes oft go awry, at least for this mouse.  Such an imbalance would fill my tramping boots with cement and drown desire.

Orion has found his way into my sky again!  Another year chases its quarry around the solar system without gaining ground but gaining experience.  Just now he appears to be reclining against the Sandias in silhouette, marvelling at the Milky Way.

I am enslaved by my habits.  Only recently have I been exploring all the alternate routes to my destinations.  The latest path takes me past a different quarry.  For the  most part, however, I ask for advice and direction but kind words go in one deaf ear and out the other without leveraging me out of my rut.  And my perspective is as focused as from a fixed periscope, only seeing 10 degrees of the horizon through one unblinking eye, missing the other 350 degrees above and everything below.  With such sensory deficits I have to rely upon my dogs’ noses that much more to guide our search.  But Kiva’s olfactory skills are blunted by time and Sombra’s are blunted by the deer droppings.

I feel a bit overwhelmed.  Perhaps that is my MO.  Surely this contributes to my inability to write.  And of course, there is the issue of plausibility.  It is not because I could ever be clever enough, but because I have such dogged perseverance, that I hope to understand the web you weave.  It is a daunting prospect.  JC was out of town this weekend so I researched and fanangled explanations that might tie some loose ends together.  Piles of information.  Where will all of these hours lead?  Oddly, I am considering this time as meditative, brain wave frequencies harmonizing with the universe.  well.  In the past few weeks I have searched along the sharp edge of Shakespeares blade, red-eyed and relentlessly, over hills and vales, far from the arroyos where I started, going full circle.  I have made multiple trips to criss cross the web space and pace the curves of this “holy field.”  I’ve incensed myself and gone around and around and around, chasing the wrong tail.  Its like motorboating in a morass, frustrating.  But at the end of each day, its not the pot at the end of the rainbow but the rainbow’s kaleidoscope, which was the treasure.  I fed ruby red Fuji apples to horses through barbed wire fences.  The last of the aspen’s gold shone against sapphire skies.  Dark emerald evergreens gave shade to Kiva and Sombra.  You’ve heard all this before. To give you hints as to the piece of peace I seek, tiny slice of my heart, miniscule portion of eternity, is the only way I can show you my appreciation.  So I carry on almost incessantly.

Tangentially, you have inspired me to check out some books from the library today.  Prior to reading your memoir I had not read any biographies nor autobiographies.  Now that I am trying to write my patient’s photobiography, it occurred to me that I better study the art.  My intended subject was Van Gogh but I found books on A. Earhart, Oppenheimer, Ben Franklin, Keith  Richards, and Houdini instead!  I think I wish (I’m always careful about how I wish for things) that I was a speed reader with a photographic memory.  But I wouldnt wish that if it was at the expense of my health or happiness.  To some small degree, maybe ignorance is bliss.  Who knows?

sincerely,

E

Scrapbook One Hundred Five…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

My Art For Me

None of my friends know I’m an artist and I hope they don’t find out. That’s why I haven’t shown in galleries. My art is nature-specific and reflective of what freedom of expression means to me.

All raw materials used in my sculpture are free. They must be something I’ve picked up in the mountains or around lakes and river bottoms. Those are the rules and I’ve named each piece in my portfolio.

Loonie Bird

Loonie Bird

I made Loonie Bird over at Vermejo Park one Sunday afternoon after catching a 20” brown trout and two 16” rainbows. It was a good day.

My favorite art supplies are cattails, animal bones, tree knots, water iris, pine needles, wild flowers (especially dandelions), and a host of other such materials. I don’t use lily pads because they usually have yucky insect eggs on their underneath.

I’ve learned to anticipate color changes. When a green plant dries and turns brown it can ruin the composition of my work, so I freshen selected masterworks from time to time.

Loonie Bird with Hackles

Loonie Bird with Hackles

It’s alright if I use man-made objects but only if I find them out in the wild, like barbed wire, beer cans and pop bottle tops. But no tires, dishwashers or refrigerators. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Rustie and Her Friend

Rustie and Her Friend

Sometimes my work reminds me of incidents from youth and I title them appropriately.

Miss Ford

Miss Ford

I really like sculpting because it gets me out where the air blows fresh and my imagination can roam free. That’s when I’m most creative and easy to please. Eat your heart out Andy Warhol.

Scrapbook One Hundred Four…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

I forgot where I left my memories

It’s not fair to suggest I’m eccentric because of a few things I do that are different. Being ordinary or predictable is no fun. Let’s talk about stretching the norms, and I’ll use literature as an example.

A book doesn’t have to be just another inanimate object that’s bored and forgotten on a sagging shelf? Why not give it some personality? Let me illustrate my point.

On page 114 of Ken Tankersley’s book, In Search of Ice Age Americans, he wrote about the Crook County Clovis artifacts that were found buried in red ochre. A few of us went to the remote site in Wyoming and I collected some of the pigment. To get to the exact spot we received permission to take a fence down, drive cross-country through gullies, dales, and a few sage-brush flats, so we did.

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I smudged some of the ocher on page 114 adjacent to where Ken speaks of a Clovis fluted knife. Scholars might say it was a stupid waste of time and I was just weird for doing it. And to reinforce their point, twenty-two pages later I did it again

 

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But think about how educational it will be a hundred years from now when someone reads my copy of the book. Who says we can’t influence the future?

I always make a few unique copies of the books I write.

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They’re just something distinctive for me to keep for myself. This is one of them.

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This is my first biography of Joseph Henry Sharp, who was born two years before the Civil War started and lived until the year Peggy and I were married. That won’t reveal my age but may explain why I don’t remember things like I used to. The book has hand marbled end-papers, and an original oil painting blatantly emblazoned upon its cover. “Smooth idea Forrest, but don’t you think it’s a little curious?”

 Hand marbled end papers

Hand marbled end paper

Nicolai Fechin is one of my favorite artists. I wrote a book about him and published another. When celebrities came in our gallery or stayed in one of our guest houses I asked them to sign my Fechin book. I always wanted to schmooze, maybe go to lunch with them, or dinner, hoping some of their mojo would rub off on me. It never did, but at least I got 8 pages of autographs:

 

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Ginger Rogers, Karen Allen, Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Shari Lewis & Lamb Chops, Suzanne Somers, Lillian Gish, Ray Bolger & the Scarecrow, Johnathan Winters, Joe Foss, David Rockefeller, John Connelly, Greer Garson, Gene Hackman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Hyer, Hal Wallace, Steven Spielberg & ET, Jackie Kennedy, Shirley MacLaine, Tab Hunter, Cesar Romero, Sam Elliot, Katherine Ross,  Byron Nelson, Steve Martin, E. G. Marshall, Dick Van Dyke, Cher, Roger Miller, Sandy Duncan, Jane Russell, Ellsworth Bunker, Larry Hagman & JR, Dinah Shore, Richard Avedon, Whitey Ford, Robin Olds, President Gerald Ford, H. R. Haldeman, Doc Severson, and a host of others, especially artists. Fun stuff.

Roaming through my book shelves is a favorite pastime on snowy days and nights, especially when I look through a book that has original documents or drawings bound in.

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To assist my memory I sometimes tip mementos in a book to remind me of business deals that didn’t work, and also make silly notes that help me remember whose book it is.

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OK, I’ll admit to having a few abstract philosophies, and sometimes I’m weird, but my fear is that someone might say I’m typical.

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Scrapbook One Hundred Three…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

My Zebras

 

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Hesna al Ghaoui – a great Hungarian film maker, but a little eccentric. When the wind blows she has to sit in the car.

I can’t keep girls out of my Zebras. Maybe it’s because they’ve been known to evoke animal instincts to the wearer. One middle-aged lady who wore them to the opera said they’re hallucinogenic. She thought lions were watching her.

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Unfortunately my Zeebs are a full size too small and that means I can only wear them for four minutes before my feet feelings start going from discomfort, through agony, to numb.

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So if I’m ever invited to a Coronation or some other big event, like if I’m Knighted, then I’ll just cut my toe nails short, forget the socks, and sprinkle alum in the boots. That’s what my grandmother used to do. She said it made her feet shrink.

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These great boots were made by Leddy’s in Ft. Worth and were once owned by my old friend Snuff Garrett. He was so influential in the music industry that his high school gave him an honorary diploma, and that’s true. He collected art so we had fun arguing about artists. He knows what he thinks, but was always so busy talking he couldn’t hear what I was saying.

I thought about giving my Zebras to Dal but his feet are bigger than mine and he’s afraid of pain. Besides, his wife would steal them away. I just know she would.

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That’s my youngest granddaughter Piper who thinks she’s Taylor Swift. She said Dal’s wife can’t have her zebra boots.

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Two…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

Age

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Of course she wasn’t 29 but I don’t dare mention that. You know how women are about their age. That ad ran on November the 16th sometime during the 20th century, and that’s all I’m going to say, except that the phone started ringing and she didn’t know she knew so many strangers.

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Peggy

If you want to know her age you can ask Peggy, but if you do I suggest you come wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying a bible.

A few relatives know that I’m ___years older than my wife so I can’t talk about that either because anyone who’s good at math could figure it out. But I’ll give you a hint; all of my friends tell me I don’t look 49.

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Some men are a little secretive about their age also – like Dal, so I would never embarrass him by saying. But he’s 20 + 9 – 7 x 3 + 13 – 6 + 8 + 8. If his wife works the arithmetic and tells him his age he’ll probably deny it. But he is however old he is.

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dal

Maybe I’m just mad because political correctness won’t let me say what I’m thinking.  Guess I’ll just go fishing. f

Scrapbook One Hundred One…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2014

 

Things and Stuff

I don’t know what it is about things and stuff but I like to make them.

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When our Santa Fe art foundry was running full speed in the early 70s, working in the pouring room was frenzied. Molten bronze was 2,000 degrees hot and scary, and the angst of spilling some on my toes made my pulse quicken some and my eyes stay wide.

After work it was time to play and unwind. A favorite hobby was making art jewelry. My repertoire included chains, kachina figures, crosses, bracelets, pendants made from spilled bronze droplets, and whatever else I could think of.

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All I needed was a roll of bailing wire, some cement nails, a few welding rods, an acetylene torch, and a jar of flux. That’s all.

When visitors looked at my work and squinched I’d tell them I was going through my mid-life, avant-garde, art period. Men especially didn’t like my stuff until I gave their wives a necklace or some ear rings, then suddenly I was their hero and everyone loved my boundless talent.

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I learned enough about human nature doing those things that I thought some small college in Colorado would give me an honorary PhD in Anthropology or Physiology.  But they didn’t.