Category Archives: rjmeyerarts.com

My Dad…

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Acrylic painting by Randy Meyer

Red is the Pemble color and it is only fitting that my dad is depicted with red socks and shirt. The scene is from a trip to Mexico after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away a few months later.

Chester Ward Pemble was born in 1917 during WWI. I was told that at delivery the Doctor exclaimed, “You’ve got yourself a little Buddy!” ( Battle buddy was a term used in WW I to describe a partner assigned to a soldier in the U.S. Army.) His father nicknamed all the children so he was referred to as Bud for the rest of his life.

Growing up during the depression in the region of Hawick/Paynesville, MN couldn’t have been easy for Dad’s family and I feel this experience was the driving force behind his determination to succeed in business and life.

Looking in the mirror, I can see that I resemble my father much more than my mother. While I did not inherit his math and business skills, I am confident that I am similar to his sisters who were teachers. Dad held teachers in high regard and was proud that I chose that career path. Teaching matched my gifts in life and was the most fulfilling career choice I could have made. For this I am thankful.  I have also inherited his love of travel along with an appreciation of solitude.

I just received the results from my DNA test through Ancestry.com and according to them I am 49% Scandinavian, 30% Scottish, 6% Iberian, 5% Europe South, 4% Europe West, 2% Great Britain, 2% Middle East,  less than 1% Europe East and less than 1% European Jewish.

Hmm… By the looks of it, I’d say the 6% Iberian Peninsula came from him.

 

 

Farm Boys Go to War

Marietta Legion Post #156 in Marietta, Minnesota has chosen to honor these fallen soldiers with commemorative metal displays. While working on the images and designs I couldn’t help but wonder about the anecdotes and stories behind these young farm boys called to duty during WW II.

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Did soldiers from the farm really make better soldiers? I’d like to think so. Farming in our agricultural region along the Minnesota-South Dakota border couldn’t have been easy during the Great Depression that preceded the war. They would become competent carpenters, plumbers, electricians, engine mechanics and general tinkerers. If they didn’t have a part they made their own and jury-rigged items together just to get by. Transfer these skills to military life and the powers that be would have considered them invaluable assets.

28-3171aThese were not the only soldiers from our area to die as a result war. The list above includes all Lac Qui Parle County casualties during WW II. I recognize familiar surnames from the area and wonder about their stories, as well.

Glory Days

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Images, editing and design by Joyce Meyer. Baseball action image by Kelly Sayler.

The class of 2018 is cruising down the home stretch and ready to complete their final lap.  Be proud of your glory days as they represent a time in your life that can never be repeated. You are probably in peak physical condition due to the rigors of training along with youthful resilience, and have shared bonding experiences with teammates you have probably known and played alongside since elementary school.  When this time comes to an end you may feel an unusual combination of accomplishment and sadness.

Are we really saying farewell to the glory days? You couldn’t forget these experiences and memories if you tried. Rather, it’s a time to say to yourself, Wow, wasn’t that incredible?

To quote football coach, Lou Holtz:  The answer to three questions will determine your success or failure:
1 – Can people trust me to do my best?
2 – Am I committed to the task in hand?
3 – Do I care about other people and show it?
If the answers to all three questions are yes, there is no way you can fail.

So, be thankful for the experiences, apply the lessons learned and make sure to find a way to make the future even better than the past.

 

Keep on Walking…

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I know it won’t be boring. 

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Image by Joyce Meyer / Topaz Edit

A pilgrim walks through the cooler air of a tunnel on a hot day along the Camino de Santiago. Impressionistic effect created using Topaz Studio.

The Sun Sets on the Alibi

March is coming to a close and with it the sun is setting on an  iconic establishment located in historic Gary, South Dakota. When Saturday,  March 31, 2018 comes to an end, Bruce and Diane Melby will turn the page of a forty-one year chapter of their lives.

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The Alibi was purchased from Jim and Karen Giesel in April of 1977 and since then Bruce and Diane Melby have dedicated their lives to providing a place for people from all walks of life to sit down, engage in lively conversation along with delicious food and beverages. For this we thank you.

It has been a landmark and meeting place for many purposes (Meet me at the Alibi!) and a safe, local hangout for young and old alike. For this we thank you.

Not only did they provide an establishment for food and drink but jobs for young people in the community, as well. These two are credited with teaching many youthful employees through the years how to deal positively with the public, work hard and still be able to laugh.  This influence has had a tremendous impact on young lives beyond  what a parent may be able to accomplish. For this we thank you.

While slaving away working incredibly long hours, they together raised five children who have grown into personable, hard-working, all-around awesome adults. I don’t know how they did it and I’m guessing they may look back and wonder the same. For this we thank you.

A loyal employee, Sarah Wynn, has been a key factor in the success of this business providing tremendous support with an amazing and diligent work ethic along with tremendous dedication to her job. For this we thank you.

The Alibi is a legend deserving of the Gary, South Dakota Wall of Fame.  I will always hear the thud of cowboy boots walking across the old wooden floor, clink of coffee cups, chatter of lively conversations along with occasional outbursts of laughter ringing in my ears. While the business may close its doors, these memories and everything they represents will live on in our hearts forever. For this we thank you.

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I leave you with this reaction from Bruce Melby when asked about retirement plans:

Looking for a business venture located in a charming historic community with great people? Opportunity awaits you in Gary, South Dakota!

 

 

 

 

Glass Blowing in Mexico

I find myself mesmerized by the process as each step is carefully, yet quickly, completed. Noticing the bare hands, I wonder how many burns occur during a typical work week. I know I would need a first aid kit within close proximity.

Living history…

Because of your smile you make life more beautiful.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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While dining at a restaurant near San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, this friendly gentleman (Pictured on the left in the photo) and his wife were seated at the table next to us.

Being naturally curious we ask, “Where are you from?”

Canada.”

Our Minnesota Nice reflex kicks in and we begin to chat, noticing their accents do not sound like your typical Canadian.

I can’t resist… “Have you always lived in Canada?” Thus, begins their interesting tale…

Following the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the family business was taken away by the Communists and father/son were both thrown in prison. His father spent seven years in prison… Wow.

Fortunately, his sister was able to flee in a boat eventually relocating in Canada. Years later, she sponsored  him, his wife and two daughters creating an opportunity for a new life in Canada. At age forty they found themselves starting over in a new country learning to understand its culture and language. As a welder and chef, they work extremely hard to make the best of their new lives, allowing them to not only survive, but also thrive. Infectious smiles along with a “glass half full” outlook on life touched our hearts. At age seventy they are still employed and have no desire to retire as long as health allows.

Growing up watching the Vietnam War on the nightly news sparked a fascination with this country and its culture. Being curious and reaching out makes history come alive and I walk away truly inspired.