Friday, November 23, 2012

Horses Of Smoke (1)

A few years before she perished, when I was already into deep adulthood, my mother said to me: “Never trust anyone; not even me.”

I’ve forgotten what prompted the remark or whether she spoke it on the phone or in person, but when I mentioned it to my wife she evinced great and sympathetic shock and said again that it was clear why I had always been a troubled person.

I do know that Mother’s comment came at a time when I was impressively employed, (finally) parent to a lovely daughter, and there were no business stormclouds on the horizon.

Initially and for a long time I resented what she said.  Now I understand better what she meant.  She was distilling her experience in order to protect me and give me fair warning.

Paintings by FCB Cadell (1883-1937)

Above:  A Lady In Black and Gold

Below:   White Roses In A Glass Vase


  1. Curtis, I was so sad to read this. As you wrote, she may have been "distilling her experience". Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to be yours. The illustrations are wonderful. Nell

  2. Good morning, happy Thanksgiving and thanks for writing. Sad?-- but it's only Part 1. I'm glad you liked the pictures. I discovered Cadell's work on the cover of a book called The Gap In The Curtain and researched him one day. He had an interesting Scottish life and left a solid body of work that seems to be gaining contemporary popularity in the UK, which I can understand. There seems to be some "there" there and it's very attractive to look at and, I'm sure, to hang. Some of the interiors he painted look very inviting. Curtis

  3. I wrote too soon? Happy Thanksgiving to you, Caroline and Jane, and enjoy your leftovers from yesterday. Looking forward to Part 2. Nell

  4. Hello Curtis, happy Thanksgiving from Arlington to you and Caroline and Jane. Yesterday all the Epsteins came to us, and we had a long but lovely day, first in the kitchen, then around the table. Merry and Nat are both here until Monday, so that the house briefly feels as it should. I'll try to be in touch more. As Nell says, those are lovely pictures to go with your mother's disturbing words. C.

  5. Gorgeous painting. Part II will be interesting. Lovely hearing from you.

    1. I guess Part II better be interesting. I am very glad you enjoyed the Cadell paintings. He's a new enthusiasm of mine. I'll send you an interesting link under separate cover. It's really, really nice hearing from you also. And best American Thanksgiving wishes. Curtis

  6. I'm not sure where Part 2 (or other parts) are going, actually. However, I was only able to write this down after I'd reached a point where I no longer found what she said disturbing. Live and learn, I guess, or something like that. Our Thanksgiving was pretty easy logistically. Just we three and two of the courses -- the mushroom soup we began with and the concluding pumpkin cheesecake -- were others' work. Still cleaning up was astonishingly arduous and Jane feels tormented by the sight of leftovers. (Caroline and I don't.) Hope you're enjoying the weekend. Curtis