The White Fox
Every store needs a client like Dr. Gene Scott. He was fun, decisive, and he had money. His long chalk-white hair didn’t abide by anyone’s decorum, certainly not his own.
He always came into my gallery with a male assistant who carried a large humidor. While he was in coat and tie, Gene wore a relaxed collar and a thread-bare cashmere sweater. Everything he was or did made you like him. He was especially fond of my wife and she always came running when his call for her boomed through the gallery.
Gene collected art, and when he bought a painting the humidor lid came off, and a top thin tray of cigars was set aside. All that remained was two layers of paper money so tightly packed in that you couldn’t tell what it was.
At our first meeting, he left me with 350 one hundred dollar bills. As they were counted out on our front desk, I felt a little uncomfortable. I had not seen anything like that before. A check doesn’t look like much money, but 350 big bills spread out was a different view for me.
Gene was a preacher with a long list of important religious achievements. I often watched him on his Sunday morning television program. His chair was on the front edge of a huge stage and he sat there each Sunday wearing a different hat. It was almost like he wore them chronologically by type. His stage was bare, but for his chair, a small table that held a pitcher of water and a glass. That’s all.
The preacher almost looked swallowed up. But he spoke with a melodic voice that was mesmerizing as the golden bible verses rolled through his lips and were distributed to his audience of thousands. They sat rapt as he talked about human frailties, apostles, scriptures, prophets, and sin. I wondered if his viewers were paying him by the word.
During the commercials, which were rare, Pastor Scott was at his best. Quite often he would say something like, “Okay my friends, I need a new car. Please send money to our church,” as an address flashed on the screen. They responded in droves, and Gene probably had a lot of automobiles.
Everything they gave him was legal and tax free, to both him and them, but not me. When I walked into my bank carrying a big sack of money, other customers stared and the tellers smiled.
When I sold my gallery, in 1988, I lost track of
Gene. He died seventeen years later. But the memory of that indelible man has not faded. It has been easy for me to hold his image. f