GIVING THANKS

Submitted into Contest #121 in response to: Write about someone giving or receiving a gift.... view prompt

4 comments

Adventure Creative Nonfiction Inspirational

The past is but a memory

The future is yet to be

Today is the present, a gift for you and me

Another long day finally ended and by this time I was not in a good mood. The design company I worked for had put in a last-minute request to have their #1 product heavily available over the holidays. And of course, I was the lucky one that was chosen to make a presentation in a part of the country that needed our vision and products in their storefronts. Downtown Croydon was making a comeback and we were on board to help push the product's image onto their scene and into real stores. We were told that the fashionistas were already anxiously waiting online for our trendy outfits. We jumped ahead knowing that clothing, especially women's wear, had become our hot market item. The latest patterns were a tribute to the days of women in the art world of the last century and one especially important artist; Georgia O'Keeffe.

We had hundreds of design sketches in the works before narrowing it down to the ones that spoke to our image and our newest theme of honoring this artist. The ones chosen were reflective of Georgia's mid-century modernism style but especially the large, and I mean LARGE, floral images. Her flair and feeling for Mother Earth brought our staff to a level of design with deep humbleness and creativity but her legend will never be replicated. 

I took a deep breath, shook my head and loaded my car for the long drive ahead. I get it. My suggestion from the very beginning was what prompted the art challenge for the company. They felt it worthy to take it to an extremely high level. I should be thankful for the chance to promote myself as well as the artist. If Georgia only knew, what would she say to me?

My apartment was locked up and I was ready to go. My roommate had my info and wished me luck knowing this was not a fun get away but just a work gig pushing my buttons. Merging onto the highway, I hit my favorite tunes app on my iphone and settled into the drive. Six hours of going down the highway and back roads was such a thrill to look forward to. NOT.

Don't get me wrong. Art is my strong suit in so many ways but the business side was so stressful, it was sapping the happy side of a joyful life. Hour after hour went by, and as the evening darkness settled in, I felt the need to reflect on a few good things going on instead of drowning in the muddy part of my career. I thought back to the life of my grandfather, Chick Wait, who was an architect in the hay day of the same era as Georgia O'Keeffe. His passion was landscape design as well as the 'stick building' of architecture. Did they know each other through the world of art in the many projects in New York City? Central Park was one epic claim to fame of the architectural firm that lives on with its important impact of nature in the middle of the city. I think I need to have a conversation with him today. Good advice was in his skill set. I smiled thinking of all his buddies over time who went through the Pearly Gates to meet up with him. 

The darkness was now making me pay more attention to the road. I was pretty weary but not enough to call it a night before my final stop. The sky was now pretty dark, no clouds. The winter chill was skirting the last edge of the fall season as the hour of midnight approached. The traffic flow had now become mostly cross- country long haulers along with few cars here and there. I followed a truck that moved up ahead in the lane as he drove through a night construction area. We made it through a boondoggle of what seemed to be a crazy maze of road markers and finally straightened out. Suddenly, I was pulled into the confusion of an unforeseen accident of immense magnitude. The big rig that I had been following hit a road sign arching over the roadway that had been lowered yet not raised to allow for the safety of larger, taller vehicles or trucks such as the one I followed. The next thing that happened the long haul truck slammed straight into the sign and immediately jack knifed. In panic I tried to swerve but ended up rear ending the truck with my SUV getting caught up in the undercarriage and dragged alongside. I screamed in panic to no avail. The screeching and hissing of brakes, the crunch of metal against metal forced a hit against my head on the steering wheel. With my face bleeding, I tried to open the window when a blaze of light suddenly lit up the area. Another truck as big as this one was thundering towards the accident. I screamed watching in horror as the driver, not realizing the severity of the situation, caught the back end of my car before there was time to hit the brakes. The SUV folded up like cardboard, crushed like a sardine can, and was on fire. The triple vehicle mess spun severely out of control. Smoke filled the air and flames were spreading. I was alive yet numb, in shock, and trapped in my car.

My mind drifted as sirens screamed in the air. I saw light and colors and flashes of large, bright images. Subconsciously, I fast forwarded to the presentation of the beautiful Georgia O'Keeffe inspired fabric line of clothing that I promoted today. My efforts were well received with the support of the entire community. This was surprisingly better than I had planned. It was such a bright light in an unforeseen way with so much positive energy. I shook my head, the pain creeping down my face to my neck. What was I doing here? I sensed fire trucks and emergency vehicles attending to the huge long haul rigs severely compromised in front and in back. No one was at my door. Did they not see my wreck in the twisted mess? Determined to save myself as the flames edged closer to the underside of my SUV, I shifted my weight, and my seat broke through the twisted driver door that was a bent nightmare. I wedged myself through and slipped out into the smokey disaster. No one was nearby as it seemed heavy support was at the front and rear of the entire mess. Water sprayed everywhere attempting to quell the raging inferno. I stumbled, my hand holding the gash on my bleeding head, and walked toward an EMT vehicle. The two men were stunned when they saw me, and looked behind where I had walked from, finally catching a glimpse of what no one else saw; a demolished, unrecognizable SUV caught in between two huge wrecked rigs. My eyes closed and I dropped to the ground.

I look back on that fateful moment when it could have been the end. The end of my life in a split second. But someone was looking out for me that night. It was an awakening, so I promised myself, after regaining my health that I would show others the power of art within all creative pursuits. To engage a community, and work with others to bring about positive change with inspiration and to grow with creativity in all ways. 

Bloom where you are planted. 

Such as the life and the work of Georgia O'Keeffe.

November 27, 2021 00:06

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4 comments

Kevin Broccoli
21:11 Dec 02, 2021

There's some really nice imagery here. Good job.

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Debbie Curtin
21:35 Dec 02, 2021

Thank you Kevin!

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Boutat Driss
10:22 Dec 01, 2021

well done!

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Debbie Curtin
21:35 Dec 02, 2021

Thank you Boutat!

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