When you grow up in small(ish) town, you get to know almost everyone and those you don't know, you know that you don't know them. Of course, now, in this world in improved technology and communication, there's people I don't even know in my own neighborhood.
But back then, we knew who lived in the house on the corner, or the widow who lived in the small rock house built by pioneers. And in one rock house, there lived a man who painted. His name was David Merrill.
Not only was he a painter, but he was active in the community. A church and civil leader, he was very well respected. Plus, he was the only one I knew personally who's son won an Academy Award. Come to think of it, he's still the only person I've ever met who's son won an Oscar.
Being an artist, my brother and I went to the art studio built next to his house and passed off our Boy Scout art merit badges. My brother kept up with the art-thing, even getting his degree in it. I dabbled in art, but it was always my brother's thing. I got into writing.
I thought about our past neighbor when I went to my semi-annual dentist's visit last week. Our dentist renovated a nineteenth-century hotel into a beautiful office building and on the walls he has several David Merrill originals. Seeing them brought back memories of me riding my bike my friend Kerry's or Steve's houses. They lived on the same block as the painter and many of the homes look pretty much the same. When I got home I did a google search for "David Merrill Artist." There's quite a few artists out there with that name.
Art captures not only the scene for eternity, but also memories of the artist. We see the world through their eyes and they remind us of what it means to create. It's only my opinion, but I think when we create something, we're as close to becoming deity as possible on this planet. He really was a talented man.