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Darlene’s Blog – November 2016

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November 19, 2016

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Avanti

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As I dropped Lillian off at The Knitting Club Meeting she pleaded with me to stay with her best puppy dog eyes.

“You know I stay far away from anything that could make this granny square, “I explained.

“Whatever!” she rolled her eyes and then blew me a goodbye kiss which I caught in mid-air and pressed to my cheek.

Lillian was part of Avanti’s bi-weekly late afternoon knit club more affectionately known as Sunset Stitch and Bitch. They are a group of about 15 or so women who use knitting as an excuse to share their disappointments with their health, children, doctors and the world at large. Usually an eager and talented complainer myself you’d think this would be my bag, but I just couldn’t get past the craft itself – the thought of cheap yarn being made into multi-colored squares that would form blankets that would clash with bedspreads was eyesore anathema to me. I was a purveyor of the pretty.

Feeling quite superior about myself I made my way down the hall to the bar. I was hell bent on having a nice, quiet vodka gimlet and Texas Monthly magazine perusal before Dancing with The Stars came on. Then he walked in. It was Jim Coffey, a local pottery artist, who was here to teach an art class. His photo had caught my eye in the Avanti newsletter a few days prior. He was a good looking man in his early 60’s—a Robert Redford type in cowboy boots and a form-fitting jean shirt. His gorgeous, steely blue eyes made me more nervous than a long- tailed cat in a room full of rockers. Should I say hello now or just wait until the class tomorrow? What was he doing here a day early? What outfit should I wear to his class? Should I let him know I’ve potted before? Or pretend I’m a newbie and have him be astounded by my raw, natural “first time” talent? Decisions decisions. I stirred my refreshing beverage and pretended to read while I tried to hear what he was saying.

I overheard Jim say something to Manuel, the bartender, about “helping him” and then they disappeared down the hall together. I downed my drink and decided to follow them. I wish they would slow down. Sheesh— they were moving fast! They were already in the nearby kitchen. By the time I made it to the kitchen they were gone, but the main kitchen doors were still flapping open and shut so maybe this was a clue they had left through there? Hmm. Where did they go? I placed my cane as far forward as possible to hopefully gain some momentum towards the doors to check it out – when suddenly the swinging doors burst back open in unison making a wide berth for Manuel who was wheeling in a huge pottery wheel on a hand-held dolly truck. Quickly, I flattened myself against the nearby wall beside a faux ficus tree grouping. Thankfully, no one saw me. Jim followed Manuel with a giant, awkward box of supplies and they shot down the adjacent hallway like chrome balls in a pinball machine. Slow down I wanted to yell!

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Sarah, one of the beloved Avanti staffers, pushing an empty wheelchair into a storage closet. I whistled for her help like a woman hailing a cab in Manhattan late for an important meeting.

“Follow that foxy potter!” I cheered as a laughing Sarah whisked me down the hall.

Breathless, we finally made it to the art studio. I peeked in the doorway. There they were – Jim and Manuel, muscles flexing while situating the super-sized potting wheel in the corner of the studio. It was sight for sore eyes. My mind wandered. I imagined myself sitting in the potting wheel chair with Jim behind me like Patrick Swayze in the film Ghost helping me shape an open vessel bowl with Manuel misting us with a water spray bottle to keep the materials wet.

“Darlene!” Sarah snapped me out of my day dream, “Jim is asking if you’d like to help him inventory the art supplies,” as she pointed to a box and tipped me up and out of the wheelchair.

“I thought you’d never ask,” I fluttered my eyelashes at Jim who took my hand and kissed it like a potting prince charming.

Manuel offered me a chair to sit in, Sarah handed me a clipboard and Jim offered me a thankful smile that guaranteed a lifetime of naughty day and night dreams. My imagination was running wild again. Oh, the unrestrained, tower shaped piece of art I would produce tomorrow on that potting wheel that would shock all who saw it.

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