Color study in red and turquoise . . . . . . . . . .   Leave a comment

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In one corner of my study at home is a red velvet sofa, my reading spot, and in front of it a red Costa Rican snowball cart that serves as a coffee table.  Behind the sofa are two wall hangings, both turquoise with red accents, a Korean obi and a Haitian sequined flag.

The obi was brought home by my first husband around 1990, a professor setting up a college summer-school-abroad program there, a trip that got him in trouble with me when he let slip that he’d been served cat meat at an official banquet which he couldn’t turn down without his host losing face.  Next to the obi hangs the Haitian hanging that I bought at the Festival Internationale in Lafayette the year I went as a performer.  That was the year my marriage ended and I’d joined a local Brazilian Samba band as an inaugural stretching of my newly-freed wings.

Red and turquoise color study

red and turquoise color study ………………………………………….. © Calhoun Rising – All rights reserved

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It has double significance for me since my dad grew up in Haiti on a sugar plantation outside of Port-au-Prince that was run by his dad, a sugar chemist from Cajun country around Bayou Teche.  My granddad was of great value to the New York company that was investing in 1920s Caribbean sugar interests as he was bilingual, much as he had been a few years earlier in WWI to General “Black Jack” Pershing, who made him his interpreter and motorcycle driver in France.  After he moved back to the States, though, he was just the retired knee I sat on, eating McKenzie’s brownies that he knew I loved and savoring the rich aroma of his ever-present Cuban cigar while he rocked in his chair and crooned in a goofy, off-key moan.  “I’m practicing for the Perry Como show.”   My daddy once told me that when he was little, sitting on the same knee while his father listened to the stock market report on the American radio station, he’d listen through the endless names of companies and wait for “any kinda copper”, the curious company with no name.   It was years before he found out it was Anaconda Copper.

day shot

© Calhoun Rising – All rights reserved

I’d always thought that that little reading corner of mine made a fine red and turquoise color study, but when I brought the cart and textile pieces into the livingroom and put them on the black piano in the bay window against the black of night, it spoke to me.

Tisolay’s piano.  It was the Steinway that Rubenstein played on during his 1949 concert with the New Orleans Symphony, and then autographed when he found out Tisolay was buying it.   Almost 70 years later, when the sound board needed to be rebuilt from the humidity damage of Katrina’s floodwaters being under the house for so long, the rebuilders told me that the autograph would be stripped away and that they’d be repairing the bare wood edges of the little shelf to the side where Tisolay’s flowers had pulled away the lacquer, as well as the little half-moons at the foot of the black notes where her fingernails had nibbled through the black.   I smiled and thanked him, but said no, he could leave the finish alone, just as it was.  The ob/gyn who delivered me, Granddaddy’s best friend, who used to write torrid mash notes to Tisolay on open post cards for God and everyone to see whenever he was away at a convention… causing Granddaddy to groan and chuckle before turning them over to Ti… always claimed that, out of jealousy, he too had etched his autograph inside the piano, but I have yet to find it.

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grouping 4

© Calhoun Rising – All rights reserved

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Thanks for joining me with my little photo experiment.     _________________________________________     © Calhoun Rising- All rights reserved.

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