Wandering Post about Life and Death (huh?)

The thing about everything is you have to know when to stop and yesterday I kept painting when I shouldn’t have. It’s OK. I will avail myself of a palette knife later on — maybe. Maybe not. It’s more about the experience at this point than the product. Usually I have no problem seeing the moment to pack up, but I was having so much fun.

I guess it’s that adage, “Don’t stay too long at the fair.” Looking up the phrase this morning, I learned it is a song, but wait! I already knew that… Out of the deep dark recesses of my universe Patti Page crawled out to sing this incredibly depressing little ditty. I could see the album cover sitting on the kitchen counter. I could hear adult voices discussing Patti Page and her physical deterioration. “Wonderful voice. Really too bad.”

Was THIS the album? Looks familiar. Yep these songs were on it, but where’s the song about staying too long at the fair?

I remembered asking mom? Dad? What it meant to “stay too long at the fair,” and they explained it somehow and my mom, at some point said, “It’s always good to leave a party when you’re having a good time.”

That made NO sense to me. How could you stay too long at the fair? Fairs are GREAT. The only fair I’d ever been to was the Mountain Empire Fair in Billings, and I didn’t get to eat cotton candy (“NO!”), but I did ride the ferris wheel and I got to see a LOT of animals, and it was AWESOME. And why would any one leave a fun party?

But it’s definitely possible to stay too long at the fair and my mom’s advice is right on.

I recently finished watching Grace and Frankie. There was a moment when I despaired of the direction of this show, but I paid $10 for the privilege of watching it on Netflix. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the absurdity and outright stupidity, BAM. Wow. The moral of the story — that we need each other — isn’t new, but it is still true. The silly meanderings that drive the storyline of Grace and Frankie to the conclusion are funny at times, but the conclusion hit me hard. In our lives, we don’t really have the option of NOT staying too long at the fair. We leave the fair whenever the universe has programmed us to leave the fair. Some of us leave the fair before it’s even opened for the day; others leave the fair/party when they’re having fun; others are lucky enough to leave the fair when they’re well and truly tired of the fair or have lost the capacity to enjoy it. Who knows? Most of us don’t.

So what about the fair? and the party? I don’t know. I do know that there’s a corner of my painting that is NOT what it needs to be. Or maybe it is. Time will tell.

18 thoughts on “Wandering Post about Life and Death (huh?)

  1. Whew, beautiful. My mother died of cancer and had rather a living wake. My sister died of cancer and was furious and fought to the last moment, I think. The deaths from Covid-19 hitting one million makes me miss my mother, father and sister even more. Hugs.

    • ❤ My dad (MS) was mostly angry at his debilitation and he was FURIOUS to the point of suicide. When he got to the point where he could see the goal post he was a poet. My Aunt Martha was ready (80 and she had dementia and KNEW it) and just wanted me to sit beside her, hold her hand and listen to her. I was very happy to do that. I dunno — it's, for me, not about death but how well am I doing with this? My "wild and precious life". I miss them but I also think that I had them which might be the main idea. I don't know. Big hugs in return.

  2. Patti Page–what a blast from the past. My mother had all her record albums.
    When I received my cancer diagnosis, I just wanted to live longer than my mother did with hers. I have. The rest of life is gravy, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Exactly. ❤️ When I hit my 40s and realized I was heading into the part of life my dad didn’t get the live, I was “Do BETTER with your ‘wild and precious life’ (though I hadn’t read that poem) than you’ve done so far.” It sent me on an amazing trajectory that I think my dad would have approved. It is gravy. Teddy says, “Every dog knows that, Martha! Good grief!” 🐾

  3. Interesting take on what it means. I always thought that too and then later wondered if it meant don’t outstay your welcome, when visiting, leave them wanting more ….lmao

  4. My sister suddenly died 40 years ago yesterday and I have never forgotten that life is fleeting. With regard to art,I always put the emphasis on process rather than product with the kinder I teach. I want them to play, explore , experiment and discover with the materials, and less importance with the product

  5. I am fascinated with the painting – such color, movement, texture!! I’d never heard the phrase “Don’t stay too long at the fair”. Now I’m wondering what that looks like in my life. I think I retired just in time!

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