April 27, 2013 7:33:06 PM
Betty Stone -
Never having received an accolade myself, I decided the next best thing would be to create one. The project presents unexpected problems. How often should it be awarded? Annually? It is conceivable that there would be years when no one deserved it. I think I'll put that on the back burner for a while.
For what should it be awarded? Heroism? Altruism? Devotion? Creation of beauty? Guess I'll put that on the back burner, too.
What will be prize be? Something tangible? Something valuable? How valuable? Where will I get it? Is it going to cost me personally?
This job is getting to be more difficult than I imagined. Let us see, now; maybe I can start with the easy part. I will name my award. Should it be "The Thrown Stone?" No, too belligerent. "The Stone Throne?" Too presumptuous.
Scots venerate the Stone of Scone. It is a big, flat stone used in the coronation of kings or queens and sometimes called the Stone of Coronation. How about reversing that to "The Scone of Stone?" That's it! My award will be a scone -- if I can purchase a scone. I don't want to have to cook it myself. It might just have to be symbolic.
That big question decided, I must return to the question of why? Heroism is hard to come by. All of us like to think we would be heroic in a crisis, but none of us is really eager to prove it; and, thank heaven, there are limited opportunities. I do know someone, however, who ran in the Boston Marathon, but was luckily back in her hotel room by the time the bombs exploded. I think I'll just strike that category off the list.
What about altruism? Wealthy people sometimes make monetary donations to causes they embrace. Some do so to toot their own horns, but some actually give anonymously. What if I gave an award to someone who gave an even greater award? Well, that won't work. If they give anonymously, I won't know about it. If they give to toot their own horn, they don't need me. Besides, they might someday establish an award for a cause I personally deplore. What if they created a Society for the Prevention of Red-Headed Writers? Strike that idea, too.
Devotion is an admirable trait, isn't it? The problem it presents is the object of the devotion. Some people are devoted, indeed, but only to themselves. I have also heard of people who manage to play bridge every day. I call that devotion, but I don't see how in the world they have time for it. I enjoy playing bridge, too, but if I were that devoted to it, I would never, ever get the things done that plain old life demands of me. Bridge enthusiasts belong to a special group, however, one that includes both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Any objection to it holds for many other activities as well. Does our devotion have a worthy object? Does it even need to?
Creation of beauty? My goodness, there are plenty of candidates in that category. Look at all the local artists. Some of them create objets d'art that are surely beautiful. If not that, they are at least interesting.
And look around our lovely little city. God gives us the raw material, but some gifted people create landscapes of breathtaking beauty, especially at this time of year. Some of these spectacular scenes are on the grand scale, like the gardens of Nancy Imes, which will be on display in May, to benefit the Columbus Arts Council.
I knew Nancy back when we were children, and she and her sister Joanne McClanahan (Platt) had a sandbox in their back yard. They, Joyce Hawkins (Williamson) and I would each take a corner of it to "landscape" with twigs, grass, bits of moss, rocks -- whatever we could find. Nancy's corner was always outstanding. Talent will find a way of expression.
Peggy Cantelou's Yoshina cherry trees in Columbus this year were as pretty, if not as numerous, as those around Washington's tidal basin. Her daughter, Renee, planted them in 2001, so they are especially cherished by her.
If you have not driven by Lola Atkins' yard this spring, or anytime for that matter, you have missed a visual feast. She accomplishes this feat with the expertise of Matthew Shelton, a man on the best of terms with ornamental plants. The beauty also extends to her solarium indoors as well.
As with many awards, there can be an aspect of nepotism. Unfortunately I cannot engage in that; I have no family here. I guess I'll just have to settle for cronyism, but I just do not know which crony to award.
There are so many creators of beauty, especially horticultural beauty at this season, that I cannot list all of them, much less present awards. So I give up. However, if you happen to drop by for a cup of coffee, I shall be glad to serve you a scone if I have any. Maybe even the Scone of Stone.
Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.