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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Tribute to Mr. Wilson

The more I think of putting a ball in front of Honey's face, the more I like it. It's so Magritte. Rene would do it in a flash.

The idea grew stronger the longer I studied color values on an eight by ten canvas I had in stock. I had used the grid system to duplicatethe drawing, using line only, I had done in pencil. And I was using acrylic paint mixed to the consistency of watercolour gingerly, not in my usual flamboyant style of free application. Thinking all the time, I proceeded very slowly and after an hour or so, could think no more. I went looking for Wilson.

I found him in the weight closet next to the seven pounders. He was losing air. I puffed him out, propped him up and snapped his picture. He was the only ball to put in front of Honey's face if all this studying failed.

Our Mr. Wilson is a lot older than the Wilson of The Castaway film. I bought him at the Caesar Park Hotel, now the Hilton, gift shop in Cancun about fifteen years ago and he's come on every trip we've taken since. After giving us years of water volley ball fun, he's dying. "Roth", written in permanent marker as soon as I had to snatch him from some kid who thought he was the hotel's and available to just anyone for play, is barely visible. "Matchpoint" is nearly worn off too. And he's not holding his air. On our trip to Sarasota last November, he was nearly flat when I unpacked him--even though he'd been game ready and full of bounce the night before. He just looked tired and sad. We had to let him go.

I wanted to power serve him from the beach right there, but Honey objected to littering the Gulf. Though I argued, I'm glad I listened. Cancun is the place. Wilson came from Cancun, it's fitting that he be laid to rest there. I plan on burying him at sea this spring--even if I have to go parasailing to get beyond the tide.

Putting Wilson in Honey's painting will honor his memory and all our great times whooping it up in the hotel pools of the Caribbean. What a joy he was.

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