Two Friends

March 2013
As we prepare for our 21st Anniversary "Simply Southwest" opening on March 22… not only have I reflected on the time gone by, but coincidentally its National Appreciation Week . We are encouraged to send notes of appreciation to important people in our world.
There are two precious people I need to acknowledge as my new gallery year begins. After my horrible bout with the flu this January, and more sadly the passing of these two dear friends both on January 19th.
By way of a cyber note of appreciation to the universe then…

My wonderful friend Dolores… 1931- 2013

When I opened my gallery in Bisbee,Az I was a pretty busy Mother and gallery owner. I usually did EVERYTHING to keep my little gallery afloat….. After moving to our successful Main Street location, it became apparent that we needed to keep longer weekend hours. Dolores Bankston, a former dancer of ballet and broadway musicals had retired to Bisbee, where she successfully ran her own ballet studio for 16 years. She was first our ballet teacher and then become a great friend to my family.

She cheerfully offered to come in on Sundays, so that I could attend church and have a day off with my children. Later, when my son was commuting to a private school in Sierra Vista, I was called on to teach art there. Dolores added Mondays to her time in my gallery. She loved all the arts and was also talented in quilt making and the restoration of old oil paintings. She had her favorite artist in my gallery, it was George Bodine (the Delta airline pilot and sideline) classic realistic oil painter.

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Sometimes she would stop by my house and pick Joseph ( my son ) up to go have a hamburger, and since we were vegetarian and I never cooked meat at home, this was a big treat for him. His face would light up a big smile when he said "she let me have french fries too, and a coke !!"

I remember when my daughter Amy graduated from college. Dolores flew with me to California for the celebration. It was a wonderful event for all of us, and even though she had great trouble walking, she enjoyed her time in my family milestone. After moving to Tucson in 2001 I didn't see her very much. We kept in touch by telephone, having long New Year's Eve chats. And whenever I went to Bisbee I spent time with her and her noisy cadre of little dogs.

Yesterday, I joined some of her friends as we stood atop the Mule Mountain in Old Bisbee, up on the High Road ….. to scatter her ashes to the wind. I said a prayer of thankfulness that I knew Dolores.

Bob Luckie - Mr. Lucky 1932-2013

My friend Mr. Lucky as we called him, came in my world where Dolores left off. I knew him from 1985 when I relocated to Tucson from Taos working for El Presidio Gallery. He flew in from Jersey City as big as life, and he purchased artwork from my friend and artist Donna Ramaeker.

Tucson was his retirement home. A former CEO of Gulf and Western, and President of Brentano Books in New York, he had had a very successful career.

When my gallery was still in Bisbee he would drive down to visit me, and when I moved to Tucson he became a regular gallery groupie, and we often went for a visit and lunch. He had a wealth of wisdom, and shared ideas with me on how to improve my business. He collected many artists, his condo being patch worked in art from ceiling to floor with beautiful paintings, some of his favorites even draped over the doors!

He had a funny way of observing human nature, and we often laughed about life, while we shared a meal. He liked to talk on the phone, and when I couldn't see him I would call him for a chat. He filled a grandfather place in my heart. And when my son Joseph was traumatized by the January 8th shootings, Mr Lucky insisted he join us for lunch the next week, where his quiet acceptance helped soothe the damaged spirit of my son.

Last May on Mr. Lucky's birthday I insisted that my grown up kids Joseph and Sarah and I, take him out to dinner. It was a special time and that we now cherish even more. We didn't know it was going to be his last birthday.…. We laughed a lot that night, gave him funny cards and I brought a delicious birthday cake. He loved it! The previous year his friend Marie gave him a fabulous surprise 80th birthday party, where his favorite people from the East flew out, and all of us enjoyed her fantastic gourmet dinner. Mr Lucky loved food and he loved people. He seemed to have the knack of making each friend feel like they were his very best friend…. and maybe we all were.

Last Christmas I walked with his gurney to the surgery, praying as I held his hand. The brain tumor now controlled him, and would keep him from remembering me. When I last saw him in a quiet small room, the wall's displayed his favorite Donna Ramaeker oil of a peaceful tranquil desert, Tom Murray's mystical gem of a small yet dramatic sunset, and a colorful Willie Moucha watercolor from his European travels.

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