He says he loves to paint and that must be an understatement because his walls are covered in his works, each framed and hung until it looks like a patchwork quilt.
He says he started painting because he saw a house in a movie like that, with the walls all covered in art, but that when he walked into a store the prices shocked him and he walked back out.
That was decades ago, of course. The first painting was terrible, he says, but he started learning.
He sells some of them. Many he keeps. I wonder how many there are in that house?
And nearly 20 years ago he started painting birthday cards for church members. He’s reached nearly 5,000 cards, but that’s a guess.
The story runs on Friday.
I’ve been meaning to write the story for months. Back in March I received one of those birthday cards – red apples in a golden-hued tree titled ‘possible applesauce’, and I wondered how many of those he must paint in a month.
The picture went on my fridge, then moved to the side of the fridge as newer things took it’s place and I forgot about it.
I found it again a couple weeks ago, over the holidays. He was in the hospital. He’s in his 90s. And I remembered another older man whose story we didn’t know until his obituary appeared on our desks. That man researched his family history back for centuries and was a member of the National Carousel Association and we all said it was too bad we didn’t know about him until it was too late.
We would have said the same thing if the painter’s obituary appeared on our desks. I hoped it wasn’t too late.
So on Tuesday I sat across from him at a little round table in a sunny studio, and he told me about painting and birthday cards and how he just likes to do it, plus it gives God the glory.
It’s that last quote that runs big above his picture on Friday.
And I’m glad we knew of his story while he was here to tell it.