Monday, August 15, 2011

My five legged friend

Those of you who have followed for a while may remember I spent a few years in the Phillipines. My father was in the Air Force and we were stationed at Clark AFB. While living there, the parents I knew and loved became quite in taken with Scuba Diving. Fortunately, they would take me along for the adventure. I would stay in the bonka boat with our driver Tony and as long as I stayed in the outrigger arm of the boat, I could swim to my hearts content. Quite frequently, I found myself drifting along playing in the bubble trail my parents made as they swam at the bottom. They also would swim at less than 35 feet so they could stay indefinitely.
One day, while in this state of watery bliss I spied a starfish. I excitedly told Tony about it and he helped me out of the water and safely into the boat. It was then and only then he would free dive to the bottom and retrieve the prize I had spied. This time, he came up with the most beautiful blue starfish I had ever seen! Since my parents were shell collectors, I was allowed to keep some things and I vowed this would be mine forever. I loved the color and could not wait to get it home to the ant bed.
Ant bed? Yes the ant bed. We put all our shells into a very accomodating colony of ants that would eat the live creatures, leaving the shells behind. They were always very clean, and it was a good relationship. The only probelm was, the process my mother had devised involved 2 whole weeks of waiting!
I was about 6 at the time and could hardly wait until I could display the starfish proudly in my "collection". The morning came and mother carefully removed the shells from the pile and very close to the last thing removed, was my precious piece of the Phillipines. It came out the most disappointing shade of pale brown. My mother explained that the starfish, being alive made the bright blue, but now was simply a skeleton of the former beauty. I sadly took my prize into the house vowing still to display my "shell". Suddenly, in my mind hatched a beautiful scheme! I would paint it! I could paint anything I assumed and I told my mother that is what I wanted to do. I can't remember if she bought the paint, or if I took it to school. Afterward, I was quite pleased with the results, putting several coats on my sea creature. It never eally was the right shade, so I never brought home a starfish again.
My five legged friend 12 x 12 acrylic on canvas, shadowbox frame

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