It’s been 25 years since Dad died. Recently I asked my brother and sister what they remember about Dad. Of course, we all remember him fondly, and want to attribute the best parts of our accomplishments and ourselves to our parental upbringing. But, I wondered if I was the only one of us who had little recollection of specific lessons he taught or traits that we may attribute to him.
We are all three years apart. I am the middle child. Sherry, my older sister had the most glowing memories. Of course she was the only child for three years until I came along and rocked her world!
Sherry remembered that he had big hugs, he taught us to dance in the living room and had a sign by his desk that said “ WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING.” He believed in setting an example and expected people to live up to their potential. He liked chocolate cake, clean plates at the dinner table, singing CAMELOT, football, Ed Sullivan, woodworking, and he wanted to be liked and admired.
I remember that at the end of the work day Dad would arrive home in our (one) family car. In the traditional 1960’s household, Mom had dinner ready, we all ate, and then we played outside (generally kick-the-can) while Dad watched the news on TV. I don’t recall him playing with us or tucking us in at bedtime.
I believe he did like to create traditions and memories. On Christmas morning, Dad said the same thing every year, “Let’s see if Santa has come” while he went into the the living room to turn on the tree and exclaim, “Oh my would you look at what he left!”
And he read the Christmas story from our large family Bible before we went to church on Christmas eve. At the end of the candlelight service, I recall his big booming voice singing “Silent Night.”
When I was a kid, Dad told me that I was very “average.” Jack thinks that is a horrible thing for a parent to tell a child. I feel that I may have caused me to work even harder for him to be proud of me (eventually earning a doctorate). Mike indicated that Dad never got over his dropping out of Va Tech in favor of fire training! Reflecting on it, “I still feel it was my best decision because I was too immature for college at the time. However, becoming valedictorian after 6 months of rookie school in the Fire Department got me a pair of running shoes that I appreciated. And that career served me well.”
Sherry and I have often compared notes about feeling that his love was conditional based on grades or performances. Sherry says that Dad seemed hard to get close to, perhaps because he was the “designated spanker at the end of the day after we had been fly swatted by mom. When he got home we got his belt whipping for the same offense we had been fly swatted. “
Mike, three years younger than me, and the only boy, says that he thought that the negative things (belt, frowns, yelling, never-could do-enough) only happened to him. Mike, now a retired Fire Chief, says that as a child,
“I worked my ass off, almost brutally; I used to sit and cry sometimes while on my paper route or my endless grass mowing. In my career, I have been accused of being stern in my teaching. I guess that all evolved from the example that Dad set. “
I don’t think I ever really knew Dad as a person. He and Mom eventually divorced and I came to know him a little better as we spent some one on one time together, but by then I was in my mid 20’s. Dad served in many university administration positions before finally taking an early retirement as a university administrator. I was glad he retired at age 60. He seemed happy and more open. Hmmm. He remarried and excitedly moved to Florida, living 10 happy years with our stepmother before succumbing to cancer at the age of 65. Sherry said, “I hated watching the chemo treatment rob him of his being the virile, proud man. I couldn’t accept nor believe that was the way he would die.”
Twenty-five years ago, Dad and I watched the movie Camelot at his home in Florida. I sat next to him and held his hand. We knew he would die. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask him and I truly could not think of anything. I can think of lots of things now.
Nobody ever said parenting is an easy job. And our memories of our fathers may not even be on target. But happy Fathers Day to all of the fathers who are doing their level best to pass along positive traits to their children.
Who knows what my children will remember about me when I am long gone! I thank both of my parents for somehow teaching me to be organized, not to procrastinate, to prioritize, to care about others, to work hard, pull my own weight, and to continue to learn and grow throughout life. I hope I have passed some of that on to my children. And guess what? I am still here if you have any questions!
There is so much to blog about that this is just a hodgepodge! Thanks in advance for reading, however!
It is summer finally. We went right from cold and 35 degrees to 80 degrees! The rain has made everything so green and lush! I added a new video to our Bedford landings B & B webpage.
With summer, there are no fires in the fireplace but the lit stained glass piece has been well received.
Since my last blog, I entered some photos in the Smith Mountain Arts Council photo show. I was so pleasantly surprised to place 2nd with one and 3rd with one. But the best surprise is winning the popular vote for the photo I took while we were on vacation in South America. This is entitled “Not the Look I was Trying
to Achieve.” We actually met this cool afterwards and she was quite charming, from Scotland! The third place photo was a lake scene I took early in the morning on a fall (dreary) day entitled “Contemplating the Day.”
Another Smith Mountain Arts Council event is a spring concert that Jack and I have been rehearsing for. We sing with the Lakeside Singers who are preparing a June Concert. Get your tickets for either June 1 (7 pm) or June 2 (3 pm) The theme this year is “We Will Rock You!” This concert promises to be great fun!
Some of our guests have purchased one or both of my children’s books during their stay. I have another book in draft that will feature my grandson, Jamison. It also be illustrated by local artist, Lisa Floyd. We are planning for it to be in print by Thanksgiving, just in time for
Christmas gift giving because it is a Christmas story!
I love writing books featuring the grand children as characters but I need
to speed up my writing!
Last month, we welcomed two new grand children; Shawn’s new daughter Zahra and Jennifer and Alex’s new daughter Eliana. Gosh aren’t babies wonderful?!
Speaking of writing, I invited several local authors to Bedford Landings to do some writing on the spot about any aspect of the house or the B & B business. We have now collected about 14 stories. I am going to print them into a little “Bedtime Story” book for each of the guest rooms. I am calling it “Sweet Dreams at Bedford Landings.”
We appreciate the local media. In March, we were voted “Best Place to Stay” at Smith Mountain Lake through Laker media. In April we were featured in a 4-minute segment on Blue Ridge television on WSLS in Roanoke. We so appreciate the coverage and the referrals.
People ask if we are busy. Yes we are! Our B & B season is in full swing plus Jack is taking people on sightseeing rides and working part time at the FBO (at the airport) for the flight school. Patty, our loyal housekeeper is helping us flip rooms for the guests who walk through the door celebrating their new marriage, a family reunion, birthdays and anniversaries. Some are just here visiting the beautiful lake and others are passing through wanting to stay at a B & B. Whoever you are and where ever you are from, we appreciate your passing the word along to your friends and families as a recommended place to spend some time.
Until we see you, enjoy the summer!
On our vacation this year, we took a cruise to South America. We knew there would be several days “at sea” as we traveled. And on days at sea, Park West, the on ship’s art gallery has art auctions.
Featuring art greats, such as Pop artist, Peter Max, we knew we could not afford the magnificent art, but we always enjoy learning about the artists and attending the auctions. Plus, they serve champagne!
On a previous cruise we attended an art auction and learned a great deal about art styles and eras. During one auction, I stepped out to the restroom and returned for Jack to tell me he had purchased two paintings in a mystery auction while I was gone. They are by Anatole Krasnyansky, a Ukrainian artist who depicts expressive surreal figures in cubism. We have kept these two serigraphs in our personal quarters but have decided that we need to bring them into the light for others to enjoy.
The first wedding anniversary is the paper anniversary. As an anniversary gift, I gave Jack a gift certificate to a Bed & Breakfast. He gave me a print by Emile Bellet. We had learned about Bellet’s work on the same (as above) cruise in about 2006. I love his style. His paintings often center on a mysterious figure, representing a timeless and ageless femininity.
Jack always says it seems like he can’t paint faces. On the contrary, I think there are no features painted so that any woman can visualize herself in his paintings. Bellet says he represents “all women” in his paintings.
Park West describes Bellet as a self-taught artist who has aligned himself with the discipline of the Fauves—a school of artists who lived at the turn of the 20th century that includes Henri Matisse, and Paul Cézanne. Bellet, born in Provence, France in 1941 has mastered painting in a vivid non-authentic color with an impasto knife, using highly saturated colors to paint his elongated mannerist forms. He began to paint at five years old and, by the age of 19, he held his first exhibition in 1960. When he was only 12, Bellet won first prize in a national art journal.
In 2006, Ebay and Amazon were still emerging industries so I went online to try to locate an affordable print of another favorite artist we had learned about on our cruise. Fanch Ledan creates imaginary scenes of exotic destinations. He calls these “interiorscapes” and they remind me (again) of many of the indoor-outdoor living spaces at the lake. Our small piece that I snagged on E-bay allows us to join other well-known art collectors such as Jacques Cousteau, Jack Nicholson, and John Williams who also collect his art.
This brings us to 2018. During the recent cruise, we attended both of the “day at sea” art auctions. We had our eye on a beautifully brilliant painting by Slava Ilyayav. It just seemed to light up the room! The original was well over $1000 but there was a serigraph on wood with original artist paint enhancements making it appear 3D. Entitled “Autumn Lane” it just spoke to us. The dealers tried to sell it to us for $750 then offering it at $500 but it was still out of our price range.
As I mentioned above in speaking of Krasnyansky, Park West auctions often offer mystery bid deals. Late in the auction, they hold a mystery bid. They turn all of the art backwards on the easels. They then ask who is interested in bidding. At that point all you do is indicate that you may be interested in bidding. There is no loss to just indicate you WANT to bid. So I did so by holding up my bid number. Then they strike the gavel, do the reveal. And there it was. “Autumn Lane” by Ilyayev was one of the pieces featured on the easels now offered for $250. The auctioneer looked right at me with a pleased look on his face and…Oops- there went my number in the air! Sold! At this point we endured a round of applause knowing that we still could opt out if we were unsure. But we purchased it! It was shipped to us last week. We love it and it now adorns the great room in its brilliant happiness!
Park West Galleries indicates on their website that the Autumn Lane artist, Slava Ilyayav is a master of the palette knife. Ilyayev creates colorful and vivid works that “carry on the traditions of Post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh into contemporary times.” The art of Ilyayev immerses viewers in a pleasant world of warmth, energy, and light. His art is exemplified by swathes of color raised above the canvas, resulting in textured compositions that transform nature into an exciting, joyful, and vibrant force. Slava Ilyayev was born on May 11, 1970 in Baku, Azerbaijan (formerly part of the U.S.S.R.).
That same auction where we were enjoying “Autumn Lane,” our bid number was drawn for a door prize! We thought about Smith Mountain Lake when we saw this scene. Entitled “It Gets Better” by Marko Mavrovich. It is a seriolithograph. Marko Mavrovich was born in 1960 to Croatian parents living in California. At age 10, his parents moved back to Croatia with him. The beauty of the Croatian sea and coastline inspired Marko to begin sketching. With the support of his father, who was a watercolor artist, and his mother, his strongest critic, Marko honed his artistic abilities. During the summers, Marko sold his drawings to German and Italian tourists. At the age of 17, he started to attend an art school. Our Mavrovich print also is now proudly displayed in our Great Room.
Mind you we were on a 12-day cruise and by now Park West staff was greeting us in the ship corridors and sending us mail to our cabin door about ship specials. They had “our number,” so to speak, for sure! With one more day at sea there would be another auction. Jack had fallen in love with Venus Du Bain. I mean he could not keep his eyes off her! Illuminated under the gallery lights, she was a shining beauty by artist, Csaba Markus (pronounced Shaba).
Evoking the elegance of Renaissance art, Csaba Markus masterfully combines Old World ideals and classical mythology with contemporary flair. Markus was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1953. Growing up in a Communist country, Markus found refuge in Europe’s art museums and baroque architecture. The aspiring artist became fascinated by the work of Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. These studies inspired him to draw and paint.
At age 10, Markus’ teacher caught him drawing during class. Instead of punishing Markus, the teacher wrote a note to his mother stating that she should foster his artistic talent. Markus was soon after enrolled in art classes and he eventually immigrated to the United States
Markus is best known for his “Modern Mona Lisas,” which combines ancient techniques with modern methods to create ethereal portraits of confident and mysterious young women. He uses a technique called Caldograph, which is a digital multiple on wood using dye sublimation, and involves many layers of colors and textures. Each piece is hand embellished by Markus himself with dried pigments, ground grass, and 24 carat gold. He uses a style called Sfumato, which is the technique of allowing tones and colors to shade gradually into one another, producing softened outlines or hazy forms (s in the Mona Lisa).
Starting the bid at well over $2500, we passed on the Markus works time and again, each time as the gavel struck Jack was lamenting that he wished he could afford one. The gallery staff approached Jack telling him that they would go as low as $1500. We slept on it but knew that we would be crazy to indulge. The next day they told him that they had called their home office and would go as low as $800 and that was only if we opened a Park West credit account. We passed again after Jack told him the most he could afford was $500. After dinner that night, we were invited to a Park West exclusive art social so all of the art purchasers could meet each other. Ha! We went! That’s when they told Jack he could get the Csaba Markus for $500. After having thrown that figure out to them, he had to follow through.
Venus Au Bain arrived this week superbly packaged by Park West and requiring a Fed Ex signature. Now if Jack is not in the hangar working diligently on the RV-10, he is sitting in the great room with Venus! Oy vey!
We will enjoy our personal art in the Great room for a time this summer or until we have another local artist interested in exhibiting his or her art. Please ask us about it and we will
tell you what we know. In the meantime, I snuck this photo of Jack and Venus! It kind of cracks me up!
When we opened Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast in 2013, we purchased very few new home furnishings with the exception of mattresses and the great room sectional sofa. Instead we used what we had accumulated from our blended households to intermingle styles that would work. Admittedly, I have decorated through much up-cycling, bargain thrift store and craigslist purchases. But that’s part of the fun if you ask me!
Operating a bed and breakfast offers a minimal profit line. It does, however, allow us to put earnings back into the property. So, each year, we try to invest in an improvement for the household and to make the stay more pleasurable for our guests. For example:
• In 2014, we upgraded the hot tub area with professional art with art by Lisa Floyd.
• In 2015, we added Marthy’s Creek. Built not only as a memorial to my mother, whose nickname was Marthy, but as a relaxing place to sit by the fire pit or flowing water.
• In 2017 we built the Chicken House and now guests can enjoy fresh eggs and we can clean up after the five little darlings.
I recently ran across several photos that show the transformation that we have made. Although I tried to be technologically savvy, I wasn’t 100% successful. However, I was resourceful as I transposed a powerpoint show with audio to a 3-minute movie to show some comparison shots.
We are pricing exterior lighting to light the way up the driveway and to light the sign and continuing to add to the landscaping. Stay tuned and come see us!
Happy Hour painting March 26 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.
Happy Hour Painting April 2 at 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.
We have new art on display at Bedford Landings, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Our artist is Sheridan Brown. Sheridan retired from the field of public education school leadership in 2013. While seeking ways to release time and talent, she took painting lessons in watercolor and acrylics. Adopting the theory that if Grandma Moses could start painting at the age of 78, she might be able to as well. Her subjects are varied from personal travel scenes to friends’ houses and family pets. She says, “It’s fulfilling and each piece is a learning experience!” Sheridan Brown can be followed on Pinterest and through her personal blog.
On a personal note, the interesting thing about Sheridan is she also goes by Sherry and sometimes she goes by “sis.” Yes, she is Karen’s sister. What’s even better is she anticipates moving permanently to Smith Mountain Lake in the Spring and becoming part of the art community here. (And I will love having my sister close by!) Jack and I have watched her grow in her art interest and skill. One of the paintings on display even won an award at the Smith Mountain Arts Council Spring Art Show!
If you are interested in learning more about or seeing Sherry’s (reasonably priced) art please give us a call at Bedford Landings B & B or schedule an appointment for a viewing.
Bedford Landings also carries note cards by local artists, books, t-shirts, honey, locally crafted peanuts and more gifts! Be sure to check out the upcoming events at Bedford Landings for this spring.