Tag Archives: painting

My Dad…

Dad-in-Mexico
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.

 

 

Hobo, Tramp or Bum?

“A hobo wanders and works, a tramp wanders and dreams and a bum neither wanders nor works.”  -Anonymous.

hobo“Hobo at the Breakfast Table” by Randy Meyer

Randy recently picked up the paint brush, after a long hiatus, to capture a memory from his childhood:

It was a cold, snowy day in the early 1960s and this gentleman wandered up to the farmyard asking for work in exchange for food and lodging. He seemed somewhat prepared for the weather being dressed in a long, heavy, hooded coat that had seen better days along with big boots that were held together by wrappings of a sort.  Randy’s parents could not afford to hire extra help, but they generously invited the man into their house to eat breakfast. Imagine four little children peeking into the small  kitchen with wide eyes watching this disheveled older gentleman with a monstrous beard and tremendous appetite devour copious amounts of eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast and whatever else was available that morning. After satisfying his hunger, they wished him well as he made his way to the next farm site.

Who was this man… Hobo? Tramp? Bum?

Since the railroad was still running a train route to the towns of Gary, South Dakota and Marietta, Minnesota it is possible that he hitched a ride on the rail and walked farm to farm in search of food, board or money. This would define him as a hobo.

True hobos fully embraced a strong work ethic, bouncing from place to place, looking for short-term jobs to earn their keep, while bums and tramps wanted to bum everything—money, food, or cigarettes.

The very first American hobos were cast-offs from the American Civil War of the 1860s as young men rode the rails to find their fortunes, usually finding menial work or farm labor. The name hobo is believed to be a shortened form of “hoe boy.” The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s forced millions of Americans to become migrant laborers riding the rails in search of work.

My mother was born in 1920 and talked about hobos coming to her family’s farm when she was a child. Since threshing and haying were labor intensive processes there were opportunities to be had and her parents or grandparents would occasionally hire a hobo to help, allowing him to sleep in the barn. There were hobo markings along the railroad stop in nearby Smiths Mill, Minnesota that would communicate places in the area to work, sleep, etc. which led the hobos to their farm. These markings were a pictographic Hobo Code understood among the hobo community. Since hobos weren’t typically welcomed (and were often illiterate), messages were left that were easy for hobos to read but looked like random markings to everyone else which maintained an element of secrecy. hobo signs helphobo signs lawhobo signs trouble

hobo-glyphs-code

Whatever happened to the strange breakfast guest depicted in this painting? We’ll never know, but Randy can still see his crazy eyes.

HoboGlyphs:  Secret Transient Symbols & Modern Nomad Codes by Delana

Don’t Call Them Bums:  The Unsung History of America’s Hard-            Working Hoboes by Lisa Hix

 

Redefining the County Fair

What?  No carnival?

Education has been a part of the county fair since its beginnings.  All ages enter home-grown products and projects for judging through 4-H or the Open class, hoping to win the coveted purple grand champion ribbon.  These items entered did not just happen overnight, as research and hard work have been utilized to give the best possible effort.

The Yellow Medicine County Fair, held in Canby, Minnesota, is a free fair with its grounds and exhibits open to the public.  The fair board works very hard,  year round, to provide educational opportunities, entertainment and still keep the county fair affordable and family friendly.

The arts have been added as this year with displays and demonstrations educating the fair audience on a variety of art forms.  Different styles of painting, photography, fiber arts, sculpture and mixed media were presented in two-hour slots of time.  A free movie was shown at dusk which, for me, is reminiscent of the old drive-in movie days.

For the music lovers,  jazz , old-time , blue-grass, Native American drum and dance group entertained audiences.

Scandinavian comedy was represented by an extremely talented and hilarious duo with local connections that always leave its audience in stitches.

A history element was also added with a very interesting father/daughter history of magic show that was spell-binding and included fun involvement with the audience.  Highly recommend this team of magicians.   Rope making and yarn spinning were demonstrated to give a glimpse of how the pioneers did these tasks many years before our time.

It was also fascinating to see the program put on by the Raptor Center from St. Paul, Minnesota.  Real birds that had been injured so could not survive in the wild were brought out for an educational event with a dust of humor.

Add races and a ranch rodeo… I’m sure I’m missing a few events.

Carnival rides are extremely expensive and this county has been burnt the past two years in a row with rides that never showed up as contracted.  Would you keep throwing money this direction after such experiences?  An appeal was made to community groups and organizations to help fill this void.  Maybe you were that person or group and I applaud you.

So, rather than taking one glance and saying, “Nothing at the fair this year,” maybe you took advantage of the events and programs that were at the fair.

The Yellow Medicine Fair board needs volunteers to help with planning and executing these events so that it doesn’t become merely a time to judge 4-H projects.

Maybe you are that person…?

YMCfair-9278
Randy worked on a painting while visiting about art.
YMCfair-9285
Joyce had a large monitor set up to demonstrate the magic of the digital darkroom and enjoyed visiting with people about Photoshop techniques and answered “How did you do that?” questions.

Sidewalk Art Gallery

Thank you to the Runnings store in Canby, MN for hosting RJMeyerArts  in their window for the Canby Hat Daze Sidewalk Art Gallery.  Sidewalk Art Gallery will be up through Sunday, June 15, 2014.  Stroll along the streets of Canby and enjoy the talents of local area artists.  Yellow information sheets are posted in store windows for this self-guided tour.

Sidewalk Art Gallery