Studying and living in Venice for eight weeks was one such pivotal moment in both my personal and artistic lives. That experience drew together every art history course I had taken previously... every book that I had read about the Renaissance... every visual image and slide that I had been shown of architecture... landscape and master works which related to this subject. It is difficult with any number of words... to convey the impact which that the experience/adventure has had on me... and my work.
When offered the opportunity to return... I was at first overjoyed to think of being able to once again wander those rivas... fondamentas and canals... each time rediscovering new bits and pieces of a past that was beforehand only available to me in books. And then reality set in... a reality that strongly suggested that perhaps I might be supplanting a lesser return on this second go-around... thereby tarnishing "the gold medal" which I had already achieved. Did I really need to improve the already life-changing blessing? No was the answer... and I live happily with that decision... still savouring many of those memorable moments from time to time as they return from my memory reserve.
Today, Deb and I had the wonderful pleasure of accepting a luncheon invitation here at The Boat House Restaurant... an invitation to join seven "strangers"... not because I hadn't met them before... but "strangers" in the sense that I hadn't seen four of them in forty-six years! It was "way back then"... when we attended high school together and played football... basketball ... and shared more than a few "illegal" beers together. Again... in the past I have been reluctant to become involved in reunion events... preferring to let the planned hooplas remain the possession and joy of the planners. Nothing wrong with that... just not what I'm into for the reasons stated earlier.
But these older men were once special young people on one very special team which even trained during the summer to achieve a dream of winning a championship which we all believed was possible. That dream ... despite our commitment and our passion slipped away from us in overtime play. It was heartbreaking for us all... and for some... they play out that one moment of "failure"... in that one game... even today. Tragic! I still carry the pride and respect for every member of that team... to the man... but my life is more based upon what has transpired since then.
I took with me from that experience a deep lesson about living my own life. I have always been a team player. I have always tried to "win"... AKA ... to do my very best in everything that I undertake. I have learned not to look at "failure" as such... but rather... as "a learning opportunity." Life is not at all about winning. It is about playing... about "getting a glove and getting fully into the game of life." It's about the people we meet and share our journey with... no matter how briefly!
"As Time Goes By" - oil on canvas 36x30 onches
Today... I was thrilled to learn that "Dr Bill"... a totally "wild guy" back then continues to contribute and enjoy serving... even leading the medical profession he chose to join... teaching... mentoring and actively practising... with no eye on ever retiring from the"work" which still fuels his passion and life goals. And then... there was Lynne... back then... "slick with ladies"... but now a successful metallurgist... re-tired ( a new set) back on the road doing what has given him a life time ofpleasure. Lastly... but not the least by any shakes... a "bon vivant"... now sixty-eight year old Schwarzenegger-like Rod... who continues to play baseball and has the same hunky physique and looks (except for a shiny head) that made him one of the most popular and loved of all young men in our high school.
How much we enjoyed the banter and teasing... the dredging up of sometimes embarrassing moments and glow of an friendship which has not been diminished by time or circumstance. Thank you to the ladies who sat through these shenanigans patiently... and tolerantly.We came together for the sake of just re-connecting... to find out how the others have fared. It would appear that being together in an early team environment of trust and mutual respect for common goals has served each of us well.
Life and the Universe offers opportunities and choices... what we do with them remains our responsibility. Only two of this foursome really showed any sign of "scholarship" at this early time in our lives. However... it can be said that the other two... found their way ... later and each with a path to achieving their own personal measure of Success and Happiness!
I am posting this very personal painting that I made several years ago. It is titled... "As Time Goes By." As titles go... it is highly unoriginal because it owes its birth to a song by the same title from the blockbuster movie and classic Casablanca. It was the song that my Dad closed off each of his weekend "gigs" with his Buddies Orchestra. The painting has much meaning to "Me"... and by the obvious response of these three pals it holds the same value and degree of meaning for them as well.
I intend to present it to our high school next year before the 125TH Anniversary Reunion (I won't be attending)... to honour those members of our team still living... and some now passed... and "the dream" that we continue to live out in our own individual lives... long after that "loss"... in 1962. We are all... "Winners"... in every sense of the word! Each of us is still actively... and fully "playing" in the game of Life!
Love you Guys! Thanks for the memories!
PS Hope that you can excuse this ramble ... back down "Memory Lane." Maybe you have such a memory as well! Hope so!