I had a nice treat at my store recently. My friend Susan Duerksen stopped by to introduce me to her house guest, Julie Jeppsen. Julie is an artist who grew up in the big open spaces of Wyoming and Utah. She does beautiful paintings of animals in their natural surroundings and was the third woman artist ever to be the featured artist at SEWE in 2003 in Charleston.
Each year she takes on a number of commissioned paintings of horses, dogs and other much-loved animals. You can see her passion for this art form jump from the canvas. She also illustrated the book "Snakefoot," written by Bob Wehle, owner of Elhew Kennels, considered to be the premier breeder of world class English pointer champions. She is a real animal lover and an artist of the modern-day wild West. When she's not painting, Julie competes in cowboy-mounted shooting, where she dresses the part, complete with her .45 single-action.
I met a real artist who shoots from the hip and also wields a mean paintbrush. Her next adventure is at a plantation near Charleston to work on another commissioned painting.
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Piddling is an art form. One has to learn how to piddle. My father-in-law was great at it. He could spend hours in his den sorting his fishing lures and flies.
When we first moved to Bluffton, we found a flock of piddlers all perfectly happy doing not much of anything. At Mr. Messex's filling station on Calhoun Street a group of men would gather during the day to watch people who stopped for gas. All conversation between them would stop when a car drove up. If the person getting gas was a stranger, not a sound was uttered. The men just looked and when the car drove off chatter resumed.
When I opened my store, Luke Peeples, who lived next door, and Mr. Tom Niver, who lived across the street, would drop by and spend hours telling tales about each other and everyone they had ever known in Bluffton. I learned a lot about piddling when they would sit and draw lines in the dirt while telling their tales. It was kind of like doodling on napkins or paper -- only not so permanent.
I think about those lazy days and wonder why more people don't perfect the art of those old-timey piddlers. You wouldn't break a sweat, as they used to say.
A piddling reality show. Yes indeed that is a great idea. Just passing time the old-fashioned way. Only bad thing is Mr. Messex, Luke and Mr. Niver, won't be there, but they sure are in my heart.