Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Words

NO...! NO... ! I 'm not quitting. In fact I am more resolved to write and find and express myself more now than ever. This ride could end at any moment and I don't want to leave with anything that still needs to be started or finished.  The last words were ones spoken to me that went deep and gave some footing to a path I'm already on.

Westport, WA, Pacific Ocean Path

 Wes "died" quite unexpectedly last week. Didn't mean to shock you, it's just the way it is. After knowing Wes I think he may have said it that way also.  He said it the way he saw it. I had some training with hospice and they said don't use the word passed. The word is died. Sounds pretty final..., but what he left me will last a life time. I will miss him.

 Wes wasn't even sick. I had been with him the day before and had been privileged to help him with his garden. He had done so much for me that I told him that if he needed anything done around his home I would be glad to help out. He called and asked if I meant it, " Of course I am Wes. You don't realize what you've done for me, I am thankful for the opportunity to give back." I stopped by to see what it was we were going to do. He told me several times that I didn't have to and he didn't want to inconvenience me. He even told me come back next week when I have more time. I am so grateful that I didn't  listen to that one. It  didn't take that much time to build his raised bed for vegetables.
Golden Light Stephen W Pidcock2010

  My first visit to see Wes was by referral of a friend who told me Wes could help with the presentation of my photos for a show. I walked into Wes's basement and met Vicki. We unwrapped the 12x18 photos of the Susquehanna River reflections. As she was figuring out what I wanted to present she saw the faces and then called Wes.
Wes shuffled over to the table and watched as I turned the photos from landscape to portrait and back again. He told me that he hadn't seen "real"art like that in along time. I thought he was just being kind, which Wes was, but also truthful. Sometimes more truth than you wanted kind of truthful.  They matted and framed my photos and I entered them into an art show at an art museum. After my first sale I was excited and told Wes. He wasn't surprised, he just said keep going, do more.

When I applied for my first juried art show I wasn't sure how I could come up with the equipment and inventory, taking credit cards and even selling art. Wes offered his tent ,took away my excuses and then told me of other shows that I should apply for. I stepped off the edge and took the risk. The day came to pick up my inventory and the tent from the frame shop. I was loading things up and some other ladies came to Wes for framing also. Wes sold one of my pieces before I got it out the door. The horses photo called " One in every Crowd" which he had on his wall in the frame shop.

Wes believed in me.  I knew he wasn't just being kind because he would tell me that he wouldn't mat a few of the prints that I had brought in, some random photo not in my main body of work. "Don't even bother with that one Steve, it's not worth doing. I'm not even going to mat it get it out a here,"

Most of the time he would just do what customers would ask, but he was coaching me, mentoring me and I listened. He and his wife were successful. They traveled to shows for years and he told me they did as many as 40 shows a year for a few years. He knew what he was talking about. He gave me the direction, the tools and the words. I had just a short  amount of time  to get to know Wes. He gave so much with so little effort.

Easter Sunday Morning

Thanks Wes, you gave me a boost, more foundation, and something to build on.   I am a self made man with the help of many fine folks and friends. His last words to me were" Steve be persistent, persevere, don't quit. You can do it, and thanks for the help in the garden." Words I value and can't help but follow somehow.  I won't quit.