When we lived in the Black Hills a number of years ago, a fun activity was to drive up and through the little towns nestled in the hills and valleys. In Hill City (appropriately named), a local artist, though nationally known, named Jon Crane had a studio and store on the main street. We used to go and peruse the wonderful artwork and always realized that the pieces were a bit out of our price range. Still, lots of fun.
Every now and then, we would come across a print on the secondary market which often cost more than the original price in the shop. Over the years we picked up a couple of prints, even signed, but never could afford or find one that was a limited edition, or of the subject matter that we really wanted. I know, I know – tough life when you can’t find the artwork you hoped to own…
Since March, I can name almost on one hand the stores and shops I have gone into. I and my family have taken the quarantine seriously, especially with Cheri working at a clinic. However, yesterday, as we were driving home from one errand, on a whim, I asked Cheri if she would like to just take a quick trip over to the thrift store that we love to look through. She agreed, and so we masked up and walked around the store.
It was all very nice – but nothing we needed – until we came back almost to the front door. There, leaning up against the counter, was a Jon Crane print. A signed, limited edition print. One of his more famous prints. A HUGE print, that measured just shy of 5 feet long and nearly 3 feet wide, beautifully matted and framed. It also was not tagged with a price. We stood there until the fellow at the checkout was done taking care of someone, and then flagged him to come over. We asked how much the print was – expecting a rather huge sum. He said that the print had just come in, and he hadn’t taken any time to mark it, but he looked it over, and said that it would probably be marked at $50, or $45. Behind the print was yet another signed print of Jon Crane, a bit smaller, that he said would be priced at $35. $80 for both prints. You could hear the gust of wind as I pulled out my wallet… What. A. Deal.
When we got home, I did some research on the world wide web, and found that the smaller print was worth, unframed, about $375-$400, and the larger one, unframed, would run between $450 and $1250. Both of these, however, had been professionally and beautifully framed. I hung the big one on my office wall. I expect that most likely, the cost of the wood for the larger frame would have cost more than $80. I still look at the print, and it is a painting of a farm in spring – it looks a lot like the farm Cheri grew up on, and is really a charming, and hugely beautiful scene. Even if it were not worth extrinsically what it worth, its intrinsic value is more than worth our investment.
Have you even been surprised by something you never expected to see? I’ve mentioned before how our world is fraught with surprises, meant to bring joy and, well, surprise, which is part of the richness and wonder of our lives. They don’t have to be huge big deals, or great bargains – they can also just be sweet occurrences that come to us as we live our lives. Yet, when we live intentionally – there it is again – we open our eyes to what may happen, to what is happening, and can join in the wonder-full aspects of living our lives. Even in a pandemic, even when things appear to be bleak or very messy, if our eyes are opened to what may be, we will be rewarded with a joy that makes the hard parts of lives worth going through. The hard parts are not the end of the story. Joy is.
Word for the day: nudiustertian. Watch out – don’t get carried away – this is not a naughty word or anything of the sort, although to look at it, you might assume so. It is actually a compressed Latin phrase, pronounced noo-dee-uh-TUR-shun, and come from the full Latin sentence, nunc dies tertius est, or “Now is the third day.” The phrase slid into a mashup of the words, nudius tertius, or third day. It really refers to the day before yesterday, as in “Nudiustertian afternoon, I took a nice walk around the block.” I know – it’s a bit naughty sounding, but it really is not when you break it down. By the way, it goes along with hesternal, “yesterday,” hodiernal, “today,” and even crastinal, “tomorrow.” Roll all those words together to try to remember, and you will really impress your friends. I may take a nap hodiernal, like I did hesternal and even nudiustertian…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.