Sunday, June 24, 2007

I've never thought about or especially liked yellow.
Sunshine is good,but I hate bananas.
Mostly I've just ignored the color yellow until this morning when I saw it in a new light. All of a sudden I love yellow.

Sylvia Randolph is 102 years old and her house is yellow.

She's slowed down a bit since I had dinner with her when she was a much younger 99 but she is still sharp as a tack and welcomed a friend and I into her kitchen for a quick visit this morning as we were leaving Saugatuck, Michigan for home. After working all weekend in a gallery owned by Syliva's daughter-in-law there on the shores of Lake Michigan, I was thrilled to see Syliva again and tell her how much fun I have using the cookbook that she wrote to celebrate her 100th birthday. Sylvia is an artist and the cookbook (as well as Good Goods Gallery is filled with her oil and watercolor paintings.

Being an painter in Saugatuck isn't remarkable in itself. The town is a haven for artists. Being a 102-year-old artist who still paints most days is, in my opinion, quite remarkable. Despite the fact that she trails a thin little plastic tube that supplies oxygen to her nose everywhere she goes, she manages to get around the place quite nicely and the evidence of her art is everywhere. There are her cans of paintbrushes on the kitchen sill, her boxes of paints scattered around the room and paintings representing her impressions of beautiful Saugatuck and the graceful sand dunes of Lake Michigan on her walls.

Last year her old family home needed painting. No, she didn't paint it herself but she did decide that the dark green shutters against the white wood siding had never reflected her personal taste and ordered the place spruced up a bit and more to her liking. As we drove up this morning, I smiled as I looked at the house in all it's bright, crayon-yellow glory. The shutters are white now and lining the porch rail... a parade of brilliantly painted purple flower pots.

Inside, at her table, Sylvia mentioned to her daughter-in-law Sandra that "this is going to be a busy week for me..." and recounted, day by day, a list of scheduled activities, where each would be held, who was in attendance and why she supposed she should go. Two nights ago she stayed home, but her donated painting was the talk of the charity auction to benefit the local art center and along with a nice cruise along the river and lake, fetched the highest bid of the night.........over seven thousand dollars. She smiled in amazement, told us some stories. And then we came home.

Sylvia cooks, she gardens, she paints. And all her sofas and chairs have handmade slipcovers that she changes to go with the season. (Do you even have to ask?? Yes, of course she made them---and the braided rug on the floor too, in case you wander in and wonder.)

All of a sudden yellow and purple.........and growing old......look different to me.
Thanks, Sylvia.

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