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  • Dancing Away 50" x 30" Oil on canvas

    Shout together children . . .

    It was summer vacation. Hot and boring. We would read — a lot. We didn't get into trouble for reading. Reading was quiet. Reading kept me busy imagining friends I didn't have and places I'd never go. Reading didn't tear up the house. Only, while we were reading we could hear other kids outside where we couldn't go until mom came home from work. Alone in the house all day; we were supposed to clean. We were supposed to straighten our room. We never wanted to do that.

    We could play school, but everybody was way too bossy. Nobody wanted to be a student. Instead, we'd play church. It was fun and loud and it kept us from being bored or worse; afraid. We would push the dining-room chairs together so we'd each have a platform; like the pulpit at church. We would fight over which gospel record to put on the turntable so we could sing along. We'd get our mother's cake pans from the kitchen and pretend they were tambourines.

    Tambourines are very loud; even when they're cake pans. Loud and fun and full of freedom. They helped us believe we were not really alone. They helped us believe someone watched over us. They helped us believe we were safe from harm. Even as we destroyed my mother's cake pans, we believed she would understand. Tambourines can help you believe almost anything.

    Don't you get weary . . .

    Detail — Dancing Away