April 19, 2014 10:59:36 PM
As a little boy stepping on my mama's heels, holidays were the most exciting time. I had the kind of mama that moved Heaven and earth for her children, especially at Easter. With just a few dollars, the TWL store in downtown Richton and determination, she filled our baskets with delights each and every year -- fluffy grass, chocolate bunnies and memories.
A few weeks ago, I had the idea to surprise my "mother-in-love" with a painting of a photograph of her and her son embracing and smiling. And so it began. There were long chats with my friend and artist, Brenda Hinson, about the details -- eye color, facial expressions, the hollyhocks in the background. All of it came together rather quickly, I must say, as I kept the gift a surprise as long as I could stand it.
It was to be quite dramatic, with all the theater you might expect from me. The family and friends would gather underneath a blooming Lady Banks Rose in my garden on Easter Sunday surrounded by an array of colorful blooms and foliage from potted hydrangeas, towering irises and imposing ferns. The tables were to be set with a mix of Mama's pink rose china and Granny's white hand-crocheted angels, and, of course, music and a reading from the classic book "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes."
We would toast with peach Bellinis in champagne flutes as I unveiled the painting for all eyes under the gazebo that afternoon. It would be magical indeed. Well, I'm not good at keeping surprises, and when I returned to my senses, I realized an outdoor dinner in the South is just asking for disappointment -- Easter cold snap, rain, unseasonable heat? I scratched that idea, moving the event inside, and was perplexed about how to reveal my Easter gift.
I went about my business gathering up everything Minnie Mouse to stuff into my 3-year-old niece's basket, found some charming napkins at Pier 1, and had dinner with my friend Hope. The next day, my second mother got an excellent report from her doctors after a long and grueling few seasons, and just like that, I knew it was time to reveal my gift. Fresh from the framer and wrapped in plain brown paper taped together with the word "Creel" on the side, the gift was presented.
It was not in a giant basket, no bows or frills, but it was as God intended. She smiled from ear to ear, gave me a big hug, and somehow I just knew that my Easter gift, much like all those baskets from my mama growing up, had touched many hearts in the making.
You see, I learned later that a husband got to see his wife "get lost" in the talent and joy of painting again. My friend Hope had been feeling blue, and being part of the surprise lifted her spirits. And me? Well, I got to immortalize the timeless love of a mother and a son in watercolor forever. I think Mama is smiling down from Heaven saying, "Job well done!"
Happy Easter to you and yours from me and mine.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]