The Joy of …
The other night I was watching a PBS special on artist Bob Ross, known as The Happy Painter. Bob, who died in 1995, hosted a show called “The Joy of Painting” that was broadcast for more than a decade on hundreds of PBS channels. His followers praised everything from the simple techniques Bob employed in creating his landscape paintings to the calm, almost hypnotic, way that he spoke into the camera, urging viewers to gently flick their paintbrushes this way or that.
Critics complained of Bob’s elementary way in which he approached a canvas, perhaps feeling that he didn’t have the angst necessary to qualify as a serious artist. Bob didn’t seem to mind the criticism, however, saying only that painting made him happy.
During the show, Bob’s love of painting was contagious and he infused hundreds (if not thousands) of would-be artists with the courage many needed to take paintbrush in hand to try and create their own landscape paintings.
Listening to the history of this man who was content to share his ability with so many, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate he was to have that air of contentment. And I realized that, for me at least, that contentment could be found in countless ways, from everyday tasks to more intense undertakings.
For example, I am fortunate to experience the joy of … walking my dogs.
We have four (yes, count ’em, four) dogs. I can’t take all four at once, but just taking even one for a walk, I’m aware of how happy he is as we make our way through the neighborhood. I’m also aware of how fortunate I am that I have two strong legs that conquer these hills where we live.
I am fortunate to experience the joy of … being a mother and grandmother. Seeing my sons and/or granddaughter makes me swell with pride to think that Steve and I helped create such a legacy.
I am fortunate to experience the joy of … deep friendship. My best friend Amy has been by my side – literally and figuratively – for almost 40 years. I also marvel at my friendship with Mary O’Keefe without whom I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to start the paper. These women represent just two of the many people who have influenced my life.
There’s an expression that some people are in your life for a reason, a season or for life. Thinking back on the relationships I’ve had in my 52 years, I can actually identify how some of those people have fit into my life, whether for a reason or a season. When that reason or season comes to an end, the relationship shifts, then drifts away no matter how hard you might want to hold onto it. While they’re in your life, these people can carry you, frustrate you, love you … whatever you need at that point. But when their job is done – or perhaps you’re there to help them – life moves you along to the next adventure. There’s a loss associated with the “deaths” of these relationships, but in reality we are unable to maintain so many connections.
I am fortunate to experience the joy of … publishing this newspaper.
There are so many challenges that traditional publications are facing. So many papers across the nation have shut down or their offices closed in order to control costs while the CV Weekly continues to grow at a mind-numbing rate. The confidence the community has in me and my staff is awesome and I am privileged to have the chance to earn that trust every week. I won’t kid you: sometimes it’s downright scary when I think of the responsibility that is shouldered here. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: like Bob Ross’ painting, putting this paper together every week makes me happy. It might not be perfect but, like Bob’s artwork, it comes from the heart.