You never know when you are seeing someone for the last time. You never know when it is your last phone call with them. I remember the many times at the powwow when we stood at his booth, watching him work, for longer than anyone else ever did, he said, and that earned us his respect and some stories and tales and maybe even some extra care when he made things for me. My boys were like that, though, interested in how things were done and willing to invest time in learning the process of an art. Every year, he had some gripe about the committee or the set-up or the way things were being run and said it was his last and every year, he was back again anyway. I never mentioned that last year he'd said that too, about not returning. But one year, there was no pow wow and so, he could not return, but that was not him sticking to his threatened boycott, exactly. And so, I called him and arranged to have some jewelry sent and later, called to tell him it had arrived and thank him for it. Once, when I complained of our winter weather, he told me how the snow was so deep, the bears had discovered his birdfeeders hung high in trees because the snow had moved the bears up to their level. I learned never to complain about the weather here, for he could always best me. Summer was hotter in Sauk St. Marie than any summer in Illinois and winter there was colder than any winter here and his springs wetter than any springs anywhere and mosquitoes were larger and ticks more blood thirsty and well, there were bears. Once, early in the war, he told me how they'd tested out some sort of military bridge on the shores of his island and how since nothing ever happened there, it was big entertainment and people set up lawn chairs to watch and left them there to go back the next day and it sort of stopped all usual activity on the island for a few days. And then one year, my order letter was ignored. I sent another and included a check just in case he was low on supplies. It was never cashed. Then I started to get calls from people who saw his name on my website and had tried to call him: They said his number was disconnected. Well, I have my theories and they are not happy ones and I don't want them to be so. I want him to be alive and well and happy somewhere. So here is what I am going to say: I am going to say that my silversmith witnessed a crime while rescuing a victim of that crime. I am going to say that as a result of that rescue and witnessing of said crime, he was called to testify against serious bad guys, resulting in their being put away and more lives being saved. I am going to say that because of his heroic efforts, he had to enter the witness protection program, and under his new identity, had to change the design of his silver so that he would not be recognized, identified. I am going to say that he is happy in his new off-island home in his new government-supplied digs with his art studio attached to his home and that he is thriving in the challenge of his new designs, which he is selling in some other galleries perhaps on the east or west coast. That is what I am going to say: He has entered the witness protection program after carrying out a brave rescue of a crime victim and I am not allowed to have contact with him, so that is the last of his work in that style.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Writing My Own Ending
A customer came back to show me the bracelet she bought from me last year and was hopeful I had found the artist and stocked up. She said she loved her silver bracelet and I believe her, because I'd had him make me one many years ago and loved it so much that I asked for more like it for the gallery, which is how she came to have hers. She was hoping for another with maybe a stone or maybe one of the narrower designs. I did not have good news for her.