After being cooped up in the house with colds, Sugar Pea and I were ready for some fresh air yesterday, so we hit the open road bound for one of my favorite local attractions, Totem Pole Park. We hadn't been since she was a tiny baby, and I was eager to take her now that she could appreciate the excursion. It was a perfect late summer Oklahoma day, just right for driving with the windows down and the bluegrass turned up loud. When we arrived, I was a bit surprised to see that the largest structure was being repainted.
The initial restoration, done by the Kansas Grassroots Art Association over a seven year period, was begun in the early 90s. Therefore, some parts of the structure haven't been touched up in nearly twenty years. I struck up a conversation with a lovely lady perched on a ladder, paintbrush in hand. It seems that Ginny was chosen to spearhead the latest restoration of the park, but was coming up short in the volunteer department. Without a moment's hesitation, I asked if she could use my help. Secretly, I expected her to politely decline my offer. I thought her answer would be something along the lines of, "Thank you, but we only allow professionally trained artists and conservationists to touch brush to cement in this most holy of holy Folk Art Environments." To my great surprise, her face lit up and she asked me if I lived in the area. I said I most certainly did and that it would be my absolute pleasure and a great honor to play a small part in the conservation of this national treasure. And, just like that, my day took a turn I would never have predicted in a million and four years. I'm going to get to paint Totem Pole Park!
Ginny's been working from the ground up, so the giant bird and tortoise that form the base of the totem pole are sporting freshly pedicured toes.
Inside the Fiddle House was one of Mr. Galloway's beautiful fiddles that had not been on display the last time I visited. Many of his fiddles and other works of art were stolen or otherwise lost after his death, but some are slowly being returned to where they belong. I can hardly believe my good fortune that, at least for a few days, I get to belong there as well.