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Friday, January 1, 2021

"Passing A Covid Year"...

 

Checking vitals/ A charcoal drawing!

I spent most of the year with too many interruptions to concentrate on paint. Sketching and writing about the subject matter was more rewarding and flexible and fun. Check it out, please...https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10221527394527230&type=3

Some of these are sketches from my two week plus stay at St. Tammany Parish Hospital and The Tom Benson Cancer center in New Orleans. It really has been a voyage that tested our resolve. The two times Tee had to be admitted during Lockdown had me worried. I worried it would be the last time I'd ever see her again. When I was allowed back to visit, I stayed with her for 8 or 10 hours and the boredom set in. I started sketching to quell the boring time, but later my sketches became more than just a way to pass the time! Hope you enjoy the ride!


Copyright Ben Bensen III/2021

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

“Be A Doll And Be My Santa Claus!"

“Be a doll and be my Santa Claus!"

 Good "cold, wet and gray" Wednesday, y'all.

"A winter's day, on a bleak and dark December!"
(Paul Simon)
I decided to clean out my night stand top drawer which had assorted balsa wing glider parts ever since my nephews dropped by to hang with our son. That event happened sometime in the summer 2009. Assuming that they had such a great time, I went and bought three more gliders…
But, they never returned.
I dumped the wire gears, the wheels, rubber band powered propellers, taped together fuselages and assorted wings into the garbage, but decided to keep the three cheapo Guillow flyers and deliver them to our local Marine “Toys for Tots” dropoff box. I had read a flyer at the coffeehouse that posted today as the last drop-off day which ended at 5pm.
I buzzed over to Star Physical Therapy in downtown Folsom to deliver my three balsa gliders, but decided that it was a pretty chinzy gift, so I told the secretary that I’d be back with some better gifts.
She reminded me that they would be closing the office at 5pm.
I hopped on down the street to the local Family Dollar Store which had some pretty nice toys on sale.
I grabbed a “Hot Wheels” collection for a boy and a Mattel “Frozen” makeup kit for a girl and waited my turn in line.
The cashier was a friendly type welcoming everyone as the entered the store and wished them Merry Christmas as they left. Her name was Myrtle. At least, that’s what it said on her name plate.
“How ya doin’ honey? Gettin’ a little something for a Kris Kringle party,” she inquired.
“Actually, I dropped off some balsa wood gliders that to Star Therapy next to Main’s grocery for the “Toys for Tots” donation box,” I said.
“Today’s the last day to donate and I didn’t feel good about just leaving those gliders as a gift… So, here I am purchasing a little more for Christmas!”
“Wait,” she said while putting my purchase in a plastic bag. “Today’s the last day?”
So, I explained the details of donation and the time frame and she said.”Honey, can you do me a big favor?”
I said “Sure” not having the slightest idea what she wanted me to do for her.
“Let me get someone to cover the register and I’ll meet you out back in a minute or two!”
A few minutes later, she arrives with a ciggie hanging from her lips and takes me to the back end of her minivan. When she opens the tailgate of the car there were stacks of games and toys strewn all over the place. Myrtle grabs a “Candy Land”, a “Chutes and Ladders,” a “Mr. Potato Head, a game of “Sorry” and three coloring books and stuffs them into a big Family Dollar grocery bag.
“Be a doll and be my Santa Claus! Deliver these to the donation box, could ya,” she asked.
“Myrtle, it would be my special privilege to play Santa Claus for you!”
I grabbed the goodies, hopped into my car and drove over to Star Therapy. Dropping my gifts plus Myrtle’s, the woman at the front desk quipped, “Boy, you went all out this time, sir!”
“Sure did, ma’am, I said with a smile.
I decided not to explain the whole strange story, but waved goodbye wishing everyone including those on the therapy tables, a very Merry Christmas!
I think the real Santa would be pleased!
First cup!

Copyright 2020/ Ben Bensen III
Karen Kuchar, 
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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"Chaw And A Covid Mask"

I would've given the sketch to him, but...

 Good Monday Morning, y'all.

Earlier last week, my next door neighbor bought a fifteen foot culvert pipe to replace an old ceramic one that had collapsed underneath her driveway.
The next morning, two rather pot bellied, chaw chewing, surveyors showed up with their tripod and measuring tools and one yellow backhoe.
Since they tore up a part of my lawn with their toy, I felt a need to snoop around and ask questions. It kinda went something like this:
"Hi there. Wassup?'
Backhoe driver, with a spit of chaw, asks, "You know the woman who lives here?"
"Not well, but I do know her. Why?"
"The woman, (spit!) ordered this culvert about a month ago and we're here to see that it gets put in, now that she's paid for it!"
I explained about as much as I thought they needed to know in order to get on with the project.
"Who are you?" the hard hatted surveyor holding a measuring pole asked.
I introduced myself and ask the driver if he has any plans to straighten out the ditch from my driveway to Ann's driveway.
"And, if you are gonna pull out the pine tree stump that has everything a mess between the two driveways!" It really makes it hard to maintain!"
"Hell, the driver said. You ain't maintain this (spit!) area here in years. Don't tell me that!"
"Okay?" I replied.
I calmly corrected him and pointed out how hard it is to get my lawn tractor in there without getting stuck even when the area is pretty dry. Everything there has to be weed whacked.


"Well, (spit!) Mr. Ben, we'll see what we can do. You retired or something? Got the day off? What?"
"Why don't you go on back inside and watch your Fox... and (spit!) Friends, said the surveyor guy still holding the pole!
"I'm an artist, man. I'll probably never retire," I replied to the driver.
"Sheet, you ain't no artist". Paint in the French Quarter?"
"No, man. I've never painted in the French Quarter and I don't watch Fox News!"
"Really?"
"Seriously?"
My momma was an artist. She painted landscapes and portraits... and (spit!) dawgs!" he said with a bit of melancholy.
"She don't do that anymore. She's getting old, I guess. She used to give her paintings away to friends and relatives!"
"I don't give my art away. I make a living that way" I said, rather pointedly.
"Is you mother still with us here on earth... How old was she?" I continued.
"Nah, he said. She's (spit!) still alive. Lives in Madisonville... She's seventy!"
I almost gagged on that statement because these two guys looked like every bit of sixty years old or older. I didn't tell them my age because I'm not sure how they would've handled it.
Well, after we talked about my accent which he thought was not from Gentilly, his mother, her art, Madisionville in the olden days, and my moving back from Los Angeles, he moseyed on over to the backhoe, climbed up in the cab and started her up.
"That machine looks brand new. It still has a plastic covering on the seat. Is it yours?" I asked.
"Well, it's mine to take care of, but it belongs to the Parish!"
As he started back up the engine, I yelled out, "Look, you guys show up again tomorrow to finish up and I'll do you a sketch of your machine!"
"You ain't (spit!) gotta do that, sir. I was just (spit!) messing 'wit cha!"
"Well, we'll see about all of that, I said. It's gotta be fun because I don't do deadlines anymore!"
I had no intention of proving my abilities to these guys especially since I knew I already had a backhoe drawn. I sketched a whole series of construction equipment years ago when I rode my bike to numerous construction sites around North Factory Road and the Folsom countryside.
I would've given the sketch to him if he had shown up the next day, but he didn't.
First cup...

Copyright 2020/Ben Bensen III




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Sunday, November 29, 2020

"Taking A Closer Look"...

     


Good Monday Morning, y'all...

It was a pretty wet weekend, but in spite of it all I was able to enjoy the weekend by the influx of birds migrating south. On three different mornings, my first steps out of the studio door disturbed a rather large hawk atop our cypress tree.

They always see you first, it seems.

From a distance, I could hear the song of a lone goldfinch. Their song always sounds like the bird is asking a question. I'm sure their nemesis, the small, sharp-shinned hawk, has followed their voyage south. They do it every year.

It's that time of the year to dust off the binoculars and try to remember not to use them with my glasses on. It really gets confusing when I do.

The colder weather has brought out our regular visitors besides the finches. Sapsuckers tapping and circling around the tree trunks, while yellow rumped warblers flit from one branch to another.

With all the rain, along with the appearance of robins, was another type of warbler digging in the soggy lawn looking for drowning worms. The binoculars and the field guides were little help. I just couldn't place the bird in any phylum.

Along with the regular gang of cardinal, jays, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches at the feeder, the cedar waxwings circled nervously in the sky. To see them up close, you have to have some berry bushes and a good pair of light weight binoculars.

It's supposed to freeze tonight, so I added lots of raw peanuts to help them get through the night. The fat content of peanuts helps birds stay warm in colder temperatures.

One of the football games. yesterday, was so bad, I decided to sketch my bird watching ensemble... Tweet, tweet!

First cozy cup, y'all...

Copyright 2020/ Ben Bensen III

Thursday, November 19, 2020

"What's Your Date Of Birth?"...

Portfolio piece circa 1976

 Good "date of birth?" Thursday Morning, all bodies.

The other day I was making doctor's appointments over the phone trying to catch up on their subtle penchant for reminding you that you're old.
I actually made two visits this week... I think I'll live!
But, with all the doctors my wife has seen over the past year a telephone call to the wrong office was bound to happen.
"Hello, this is "Abominable Abdominals!" This is Maureen. How can I help you?"
"Hi Maureen, I said. "I'd like to make an appointment for sometime next week." I was advised to check in with the doctor after a few months and with the Covid thing happening, I just never got around to it!"
"Well, are you in pain?, she asked.
"A little bit around my lower jaw."
"Your jaw?" she said, quite amazed.
"Okay, are you a new patient?"
I then went into this rather lengthy explanation of how I switched over to a new dentist because I didn't like how my old dentist was treating my concerns. As I spoke, I could hear her banging away on the keyboard searching for a Ben Benson.
In the middle of my phone explanation, Maureen would try to interrupt me with a few well placed "But!"
"Mr. Benson, I can't find any connection to your name".
"Oh, I said, That's probably because you are looking with the wrong spelling!'
"It's B-e-n-s-E-n".
"I'm sorry, Mr. Bensen. I don't see anyone under that name."
"Well, Maureen, maybe I have the wrong office. I can't really remember the dentist's name. I think it a Cajun or French type name like "Arceneaux, or LeBlanc, or..."
"A DENTIST?
"Sir, we are ""Abominable Abdominals". We perform abdominal surgeries! There are NO dentists here!"
There was a silence on both ends. Then we both busted out laughing.
"Obviously, Maureen, I said, I need another cup of coffee!"
"Can I help you find your lost dentist's office," she offered.
"No, thank you, ma'am. I'm embarrassed enough!"
"I don't really wanna see the dentist that bad anyway ... But thanks for all your help!"
I finally located the name of the dentist but haven't called for a followup. As I told Maureen, I really don't wanna see the dentist
anyway!
First cup!

Copyright 2020/Ben Bensen III
Karen Kuchar, Carol Hallock and 14 others
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