THE BEST OF FRIENDS
I have not been able to paint.
A very close friend of mine passed away on January 11.
He went in for major heart surgery and just never woke up.
I met Tom in 2007.
I had just started offering my paintings for auction and sale on ebay.
He bought a few, we connected on an emotional level and became fast friends.
Tom was born in New Mexico, but moved to California
about twenty years ago to pursue his architectural career.
His ex-wife and children also live in New Mexico.
Tom called me one day and said he was coming into town and
would I consider going out to dinner and meeting him and his family.
I get requests like this from time to time and have met lots of interesting people this way.
I said sure and my husband and I met Tom and his family at El Pinto restaurant.
What I didn't know was how much I would grow to love Tom and
how much he would impact my life.
After meeting Tom, I got to know him.
He would come into town about every three months and we starting taking
day long trips all over New Mexico.
My cousin Goldie and my mother-in-law Dolly often joined us.
We explored Jemez, Tesuque, Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, the Monastery,
Taos, Santa Fe, Chama, Placitas, Bosque del Apache, you name it.
We looked for interesting sites, great Mexican food,
and had fun no matter what we were doing.
Tom got to know all of my family and would bring them all
Ghiradelli chocolates every time he came to town.
He lived just a couple of blocks from the factory in San Francisco and
I think he was on a first name basis with all of the employees.
We've rented houses together in Taos and he has come to almost every big family event
and art event that I've had in the last six years.
I will never forget the first time he came early to a show I was doing at Weems Artfest.
He helped us unpack 110 paintings and he and his
grandson Andrew stayed to help hang every one.
He was like a little kid in a candy store!
In fact, that is how Tom lived life.
Like a little kid in a candy store.
He was the most positive person I have ever met.
He loved green chile and any kind of Mexican food.
He loved art. He loved Chimayo.
He loved experiencing new things and seeing new places.
He lived life BIG.
Now, some people might see that as a problem.
Living life big and doing things over the top.
But how many of us go through life living it with gusto?
Most of us just go through the motions.
Tom was also in a lot of pain.
He has back surgery several years ago and almost died.
He walked with a cane and a back full of steel rods.
But he always said he was never going to let pain stop him from doing what he wanted to do.
And what he wanted to do was experience life.
He loved my family and they loved him.
Tom, you were one of a kind and I will miss you forever.
You were getting ready to retire here and wanted me
to teach you how to paint.
You wanted Esta to teach you to make pottery.
You wanted to find a house will enough walls to display all of your artwork.
You wanted to experiment and do something creative.
You wanted to sit on your new back patio and drink tea and enjoy the sunsets.
I am sorry that you will not experience any of those things.
And I will think of some way to honor you every year
and keep your memory alive.
Tom, may your spirit soar...I love you
and may you continue to inspire me.
I have a new challenge coming up soon and I will dedicate it to you.