One evening in September 2018, I sat at the kitchen table with Dad (Jim Gray) and we were studying the various people he had painted into his Joy of Life Parade. As I was starting to realize that hardly anything he included was simply a random addition, I asked him about the balloon that looked like a globe of Earth. The answer came almost immediately from somewhere deep in his mind. Over the next nine or ten minutes, we pondered and dug and probed for clues to who this fellow was. That little block of time, sitting with my Dad, listening to him sing and then, finally, seeing and hearing him rediscover at lost memory, will be on my list of Joys for as long as my mind holds out. The video below is condensed to just over three minutes, and the image and audio quality is rough because I simply grabbed my phone and started a hand held recording. Still I think you will see why I treasure it.
On February 14, 2019, a journalism major from Indiana University in Bloomington visited Jill's House, where Jim and Fran now live. It was Valentine's Day and she had asked to meet our Mom and Dad to learn about their 65 year marriage. Kaitlin Edquist took the time to really honor Jim and Fran with a beautifully written story. To read the words she wrote and published in the IU student newspaper, click this link and be prepared to find joy in your heart and a lump in your throat, often at the same time. https://www.idsnews.com/article/2019/03/the-artists-memories-jim-fran-gray
And here is one more portion of the Joy of Life Parade that goes particularly well with the story.
I've got the world on a string...
Sittin' on a Rainbow... Got the string around my finger...
What a world.... What a Life... I'm in Love.
The outpouring of support for this blog has confirmed that the right decision was made in sharing these images, along with the stories that relate to them, with all of you. I may not write every day, but since the launch of the Joy of Life blog, on the first day of Spring, I have been unable to keep myself from writing. If you enjoy following along, please Subscribe with your email address at the bottom of the page. There is no cost, so I guarantee it is worth twice the price. Tomorrow I will introduce my Grandaddy, Jerry F Gray. We all thought the world of him. He is the only person who is featured in all three canvases.