The walls of the grain bin house remain primarily bare but as weather cools and time allows we're finishing up more of the detail work, making decisions about the artwork we'll keep and what we'll pass on.
Recently one of my sisters unearthed a couple more of my father's pieces, done within the last couple years of his life. She offered them to her siblings and I took one while younger sis took the other. The one I choose, a simple oil of a lone country mailbox surrounding by the muted plants and colors of Fall looked familiar to me, but I could not recall ever seeing it in my parents home. The date on the back was July 1990, two months before he died.
For me it is a comment on solitude, just short of loneliness. A week or so before he passed he told me the process was similar to "dancing with oneself, there is no one for you to lead and no one to lead you". Each day was a struggle to breathe and although we had him in hospice care where he received both oxygen and nebulized morphine, his passing did not come easily until the last couple of days. He was only sixty-three but a long time smoker, most likely started at age nine or ten where smoking was a common way of coping with post-depression poverty and later the stresses of his service during the Korean War.
Donald G. O'Shaughnessy
He always reminded me of a young Kurt Russell
It's been over 26 years since dad died, so seeing this painting, now referred to often, in this country at least, as "folk art"was surprising to me. I was sure I had seen all his work.
For days after bringing it home I found myself tracing the brush strokes with my fingers, wondering where his inspiration lay for it. Was it a place in his childhood? Something he'd seen while on a drive? There was no way to know.
Then about a week ago, I went out to get our mail and found myself full-on with a feeling of deja-vu. I went back to our grain bin house, grabbed dad's painting and brought it down our lane and up to our mailbox. There it was. Apparently our father who was skilled in many things, like making the best popcorn and telling the best scary Halloween stories, was also a psychic, being as we moved here 24 years after he painted this scene.