Hooray, the we saw light from the shining ball of fire in the sky late this afternoon.  We did not see the ball, but discernible evidence of its presence.

This evening after dark, I sat on the patio again by the waterfall/fountain/pond, looking at the bright moon and nearby planet.  Am I a wildlife magnet???  Maybe five feet away from me, a small possum just wandered by from the shrubs on one side of the water feature, across the cement patio at its edge, and headed on through the shrubs on the other side of the water feature, showing himself at various times as he lumbered along.  I guess the sound of the waterfall distracted him and it was dark enough that he just didn’ t notice me.

We had a good day.  It started out with the Lookout Blend of a really nice, medium roast coffee (clearly a certain percent of dark roast beans in the blend).  Next came the juice, again a blend — equal parts cranberry and orange juice.

That was followed by roasted plums with creme fraiche.  What a wonderfully sweet treat it was.  There were ribbons of caramel that cradled the plums before the creme fraiche was poured over them.  Both of us left those dishes ready for the next use — no washing needed since there was nothing left in them.  We refrained from putting the dishes to our mouths and licking them clean.  We didn’t want to give Kansas a bad name.

Following that came the plate with a large slice of warm veggie frittata with a very tasty salsa with which to add still more flavor.  There were sections of polish sausage sitting on the plate next to the frittata.  They were complemented by freshly baked hot biscuits with butter and three kinds of locally made jam to be slathered on.

It is just plain cruel to describe in such detail the lavish breakfast we had today, but then I never claimed to be perfect.  This is actually just an attempt at helping each of you understand the commandment about coveting so that you can do a better job of avoiding it.  Aren’t you grateful?

After relaxing for a time here, checking out together the library and reading room and sitting area in the large sun room, spending some time on the patio in spite of the chill of the cloudy day, we headed into Hot Springs.

As we neared the main part of town, it had been long enough since breakfast that we thought we might eat a little something.  Mary Ann remembered from our last trip a little European style deli that we had visited.  I had a vague memory of where it was, but she remembered the exact name of it, Cafe 1217 (its street address is 1217).  With a little help from our GPS unit (Helga) we found it.

There are glass cases there with the various food items in view.  There is a dessert case, a veggie section, salad section and entree section.  The ordering is done at the counter.  Names are called and patrons come to the counter to get a heavy ceramic plate with the food items on it.

We ordered one piece of Honey BBQ Salmon which we split.  We each picked a side to accompany it.  Mary Ann picked the Caramelized Apricot Sweet Potatoes, and I picked the Grilled Ratatouille Vegetable Salad.  The cases were filled with foods that were out of the ordinary.  Apparently, the menu changes each month.  There were autographed pictures of a number of famous folks who had eaten there.

Then we spent almost an hour in one of the better art galleries in the area.  Hot Springs is one of the top five communities in the nation known for the fine arts.  In describing all the various events, the owner talked about the film festival, drawing thousands.  Then he described the music festival, that brought people from all over the world.  A woodwind ensemble practiced in the gallery.  The acoustics are alive in that old building with a ceiling two stories high, hard surfaces everywhere throwing the sound back on itself.  Hearing him describe the experience stirred memories of singing in old cathedrals in Europe over forty years ago on a choir tour.

The art work was moderately priced for good art.  The prices for the same pieces would have been much higher in other places in the country, but they were still in the thousands of dollars.

One artist, Randall Good, has a close connection with the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs.  His work is powerful.  He was commissioned about eight years ago to do fourteen large paintings of the Stations of the Cross.  The result of the years of work was impressive.  The folks at the gallery explained the process by which he made the medium on which the paintings would be done, with the medium becoming a part of the final piece.

After hearing descriptions of the process that has brought each piece to completion and his creative journey as it is unfolding, it is apparent just how complex a painting can be.  In years past, when I looked at art pieces, I saw them as pictures to be observed.  Hearing so much about the living dynamics of each piece gives me new eyes with which to see.

It has helped my ability to experience more when I view an art piece to have had a gifted friend named Milt Heinrich, who has served for many years as the head of the Art Department at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska.  He also served for many years as part of the Arts Council [may not be the correct designation] for the state of Nebraska.  He was commissioned to do the huge wall sculpture at one end of the Omaha Airport.

Access to Randall Good’s web site can be found by Googling the Blue Moon Art Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  There can be found is a link to his site.

It is so odd that I have come to enjoy the visual arts.  I know virtually nothing about great art.  I am one of five children.  Three of us are gifted in the ability to draw beautifully.  Two of us are Pastors.  Oh well — same gene pool.  I guess Dick and I just stayed in the shallow end.

After the art galleries (we visited a second one for a time), we headed back to the B&B.  There we were, of course, greeted by freshly baked coffee cake and cookies, red wine, white wine, cheese and crackers — the Innkeepers daily 4pm offering.

Mary Ann is settled in bed, hopefully sleeping soundly.  While we don’t have specific plans for tomorrow, it is Chocolate Wednesday!  Wait till I tell you about the breakfast sundaes!

That is for tomorrow.

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