Friday, May 19, 2006

Of dogs, hawks, chicken and mangoes

Last night my brother had his first photo show opening. It came in the midst of a chaotic week for him. He is balls-to-the-wall at work. One of his elderly dogs had two seizures on Saturday... and seems to have had a stroke, as she is having trouble walking. He is in the midst of extremes: busy-ness, nervousness, grief.

My job for the show was to make appetizers. I am now uniquely qualified to do this since I am the Kitchen tools chick. After being stuck in traffic for an hour, I showed up with still warm chicken curry with mango chutney dip, hot artichoke and spinach dip and a Kalamata olive spread that involved copious amounts of cream cheese and finely diced red pepper. I had a padded brief case stuffed with my platters and woven trays and even had little porcelain handled spreaders with which to slap the aforementioned goo onto bagel crisps or apple wedges.

The show was held in the gallery of the Mathewson Street Methodist church, which is a downtown church that also runs a weekly soup kitchen. Appropriately, they didn't invite us to bring wine, as quite a few of the expected guests would be homeless alcoholics. We served, instead, apple juice and seltzer. My step-mother brought caviar and Italian tuna and potato dip. My mother brought Portuguese cheeses and grapes. My brother wondered whether anyone would actually go into the gallery with all that food on the tables just outside the door.

It was a huge success. My mother, who knows half of RI, invited all her friends and aquaintances and dozens of them showed up. Jake sold quite a few prints. The photos looked fantastic in the space and were extremely beautiful.

And yes, quite a few of the soup kitchen folks stopped by and helped themselves to the dips and fruits and breads and juice. One guy even took a 'to go' plate laden with a pile of food. He wanted to buy a print of one of Jake's photos... offered him the $1.75 he had in his pocket for it. Once it became clear that what he wanted was a xerox of the photo, my brother agreed to make one for him, free of charge.

Later we learned that the friendly drunk in question had served twenty years in prison for rape and murder.

I had a moment of horror when I realized that he had been playing with my children.

On the wall of the church was a print of Fritz Eichenberg's "Christ of the Bread Line." According to the minister's wife, Eichenberg made the image for the Matthewson Street church because he had been involved in their soup kitchen. I prayed for the drunk murderer when I was saying my prayers last night. And prayed for my friend Howard, who is now in the ICU at a Boston hospital... and who was friends with Eichenberg. Prayed for my brother as he faces the loss of his dog and the start of his career as a professional photographer...


It is all connected together somehow. Each thread of our lives entwines in some way to all the other threads. We don't see the connections most of the time. We see only what is right in front of us.

Help us trust in the threads, even when they aren't apparent.

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