A:In a most unexpected, beautiful, deep, joyous way. An interesting juxtaposition which continues to unfold.
As I was getting ready to head out on the first CCRAF last fall, I took The Dan Mobile to see my dear friend Earl. Earl is a master mechanic, very fair, trustworthy and kind. His shop is called GM’s Finest. I met him and his family when another dear friend of mine asked if I would paint a “sponge bob square pants mural” in Earl’s back yard. Our friend was the godfather of Earl’s youngest son. It was a trade for taking care of my then, new to me, 93 Ford Explorer. Maybe it’s just Earl, or maybe it’s the Belizian Culture, but I felt instantly cared for by this family. He reminds me of the “angel/teacher” character in the “Peaceful Warrior” series of books. A gentle man, with strong core values and a great sense of community. Spending the day at his shop is always a pleasure, and now I look forward to it. And just the perfect added plus, there is a GREAT 99cents type of store, and yesterday I found a brand new thrift/deep discount clothing store, and bought my summer wardrobe in 30 minutes for 33 dollars and change.
Back to Nora and the CCRAF. Before the last trip, I spent days there… two new gas tanks etc. At the end of it all. I owed him for parts and I waited to see what he would like painted. With two days to go, before kick-off, he gave me a copy of the one and only picture he knows of, of his mother, Nora Parham. He was emotional in a way I had not expected and asked me to please look it up on google. Here is what I found. Nora Parham Belize
I told Earl I would take her along with me on the journey and paint her once I came back. She is now with his family.
Symbols in the painting: Earl asked I write down the symbols that came to me as I was painting Nora.
The flowers are the Belizian National Flower: The Black Orchid
There are eight of them representing her eight children. The hummingbird represents the Nectar of life, love. This little hummingbird is shining her love to her children. The moon represents pure love, the greatest love of a mother/grandmother. The sun, the masculine energy, which I softened with a hibiscus. She is holy, as we all are. I very often paint halo’s around people and animals. The Dragonfly represents illusions. The shell in the corner came at the end, representing her bond with Catholicism and the turtle, I’m not sure. Might be me, might be that it is taking a very long time for the truth to be seen and the formal record to be changed to reflect said truth. An apology from the Queen is in order as well. Maybe that’s it. The turtle, in American Indian lore represents mother earth.
I had a lovely and emotional breakfast with Earl and his Auntie Molly, his mothers younger cousin. She told me stories of Nora. She had been at her first wedding, where Nora lost her ring. Auntie Molly vividly remembers an old women telling Nora this was a very bad sign and her life would be very hard. One thing that struck me was that she loved wearing off white and beige. A beautiful gown appeared, one I think she would have loved to wear. Molly told me “She was always dressed well, smartly and had at least one of her children with her.” As if that made her less available, because she was so very attractive. She was kind and strong. In love and misguided, as abused women are. She also told me it ran in Nora’s family. No longer.
The Juxtaposition: I am a single women, free to travel the country painting flowers and she was an abused women, who lost her life because of a horribly misguided system. As one dear friend, whom I stayed with in NYC said, when I showed her the picture and told her a bit of the story, “She is every women.”
I painted this painting for Earl’s youngest, after going to his first holy communion. It was a very moving experience. I remembered mine in Berlin Germany.
“and then a child walked down the isle with his family carrying a banner, and they thanked GOD for their GOD given gift, CREATIVITY.”