art, artist, oil painting, portrait, commission, landscape, windsor, essex county, ARA, paintings, seascapes
As a boy I entered every art contest I could and won just enough to keep me interested...usually getting exciting prizes such as a drawing book, new brushes, a small pastel set, or if I was really lucky, a baseball cap or a new pen. My pals and I mostly spent our summers happily biking around North Portland and Sauvies Island where we went fishing and swimming. There was a creek that in early summer was so coooooollllldddd that we could only stand to splash around in it for a few minutes, then away we went seeking another adventure, such a swiping fruit from "Mr. Sourpuss," a neighbor who always growled menacingly at us if we came anywhere near his yard...he was a tempting target for a bunch of 8-10 year olds.
One time we decided to relieve him of some of his juicy peaches just hanging there (doing nothing constructive) on the tree in his front yard. This caper naturally attracted half the neighborhood who wanted in on the action. We got the logistics worked out...and had "cased the joint" by walking by his house several times that day. We never even considered he mighta been watching us parade back and forth....sheesh! He had a wire fence around his prized possession...so naturally we decided the best time to pull off this heist was after dark. Where was I...oh yes, about 9pm all 15 or so of us snuck up "as quietly as we could" and proceeded to climb his wire fence. Now my best friend Jerry and I were naturally the ringleaders, the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn of this motley group, so natch we had to show our daring by going first up the fence....it was one of those jobs that had "square" links you could put your foot in like a stirrup. It couldn't have been more than three feet high but at the time seemed twice that. I don't know 'bout the others, but my heart was pounding a mile a minute, mainly because we knew once we got into his yard, there was no easy escape, and besides, I was the slowest thing on two feet, which worried me considerable. Why it never occurred to any of us to simply open the gate and walk in I don't know. Of course it wouldn't have been half the adventure it was by scaling the fence.
Well, the little ones behind us got a little impatient to get this caper over and done with and had crowded in something fearful behind us and by now Jerry and I were on the top of the fence and about to climb over when Mr. Sourpuss roared out from behind a bush hollering "I've got you now!" and Oh my god I 'bout wet my pants trying to get outa there so I tried to leap off the fence but my foot got caught in the "stirrup" and besides those little squirts behind me got in my way and then Mr. Sourpuss grabbed my arm and I did wet my pants but frankly in my sad state I didn't even notice but took a fearful ribbing for it later by those damnedable little squirts who couldn't move fast enough for me but at this particular moment in time I had more important things on my mind such as Mr. Sourpuss with his beefy arm trying to pull me back into his yard and me scared enough to aggravate just wetting my pants into maybe havin' a heart attack and...where was I?...oh yes, at that minute I screamed bloody murder which musta scared even Mr. Sourpuss cuz he loosened his grip on me just enough for me to leap clear of the fence and light outa there and before I knew it I had blown by those little ones like they wuz standin' still. Later I wondered as how I did that but attributed it to me wantin' to get as far from Mr. Sourpuss's beefy arm as fast as I could. Once we realized he wasn't chasin' after us we stopped to get our breath and could hear him laughin' his fool head off. The good-for-nuthin' toad had been laying for us all along. Needless to say we gained powerful respect for Mr. Sourpuss...and went outa our way to avoid his house the rest of that summer.