Sunday, August 12, 2012

There is Always Something to Do

The girls were unsure. They had never been to an art museum. What in the heck was Grammy up to now?

A horse sculpture by Deborah Butterfield greeted us. It was just like the horse sculptures at the Portland International Airport. All three girls love horses. It was a good beginning.

The Portland Art Museum is free to children under the age of 17. I, of course, had to pay the senior rate which was not all that cheap, but four for the price of one was well worth a day with my granddaughters and their friend (and my honorary granddaughter) Heather. I had been threatening to take them for a long time. Their enthusiasm was lacking and my feelings about taking them was a little shaky. The girls love to paint and talk about art, so why not take the chance and either bore them or capture them with the many faces of art.

I had only taken one camera. Gabby took it and was off. She captured every item she passed as well as the description, until I informed her that she would run out of space on the camera and might want to do a bit more 'picking and choosing' in the items she captured. Heather was off with her camera exploring along with Gabby. Sydney was cameraless and very content. She wanted to stop at each item and investigate the history as well as the art. She observed and marveled. Each girl had her own path in this journey into art and history.

The girls found beauty created by the hands of artists. They found pieces of history from a past they had only read about. We all had our favorites. The orchid was indeed a favorite that drew us all together. We began in the Asian wing of the library. It was a world foreign to the girls. How did they wear a kimono? What did they cook over a ceramic brazier? We went on to other rooms full of pottery and silver. Then we moved on to the art. We all seemed to like the same artist. Walls full of lovely art much older than all of us put together. A simple landscape was Sydney's favorite.

We went on to another wing of the museum. Native American tools and art filled the rooms. A history the children had read about was now real. We tried to envision the new twins on the cradle board. Incredible bead work looked as new as the day hands put the beads to leather. Every day items that the Native Americans used that were all pieces of lovely art that we were now privileged to view.

Art surrounded us. We learned that we needed to up and all around us or perhaps we would miss something. A wall that was only partially revealed was an expansive artwork if you happened to look up.

On our way to the other wing of the museum, we found a fascinating silver sculpture. A man holding a tall pyramid of men graced the hallway. Behind it was something that only I seemed to appreciate. A few days ago I wrote on Neff Road a comment stating that maybe some day we would see the washer and dryer in a museum. If you look in background of this picture, you will see two shop vacs from the 70's stacked in glass cases. A chuckle for a Grams.

We were time travelers on a journey through art and items created by hand, by cultures long ago and far away. We were surrounded by others interested in experiencing the same. We were together joined in a new adventure. One we will take again and again.

There is always something to do with grandchildren. There are places to be explored and adventures to be had. Through the lens of the camera, beauty was captured. Through the eyes of the child, history was made alive.

"Grammy, look at the thick paint on this picture," Sydney said. Perhaps she will use this technique herself.

Yes, we looked, we explored, we learned, we made memories together. There is always something to do with grandchildren. Things that might open up a new world for you both. It is an honor and an opportunity to be with these children we have in our lives. We are given a chance to open avenues of thought and experience. We are given a chance to bond in new ways with our grandchildren.

Yes, there is always something to do. It may in fact be very beautiful.


  1. As my friend says, "Great minds run in the same ditches." I took three of my darlings to the art museum last Tuesday. We had a marvelous time. They thoughtfully considered what an abstract painting might represent, oohed when I showed them artifacts that were "older than Jesus" and worked mightily in their own sketch books. We will definitely be going back.

  2. Susan, I'm sure it is great minds. I'm not sure about the ditch but maybe in the same artistic vein! I hope you had as much fun as did we. Love summer outings!