Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

In December of 1992, my father visited Florida – and his daughter – for the last time. Every year, he planned it so that he’d be in the “Sunshine State” to celebrate his birthday.

 

On the way to South Florida, he stopped at St. Augustine. He walked through the Fort, and checked out the cannons pointed out to sea (Atlantic Ocean). He knelt and prayed in the tiny chapel nearby, where the Spanish explorers prayed for calm seas. He toured the Henry Flagler Museum, and admired examples of the world’s rarest seashells.

 

He window-shopped along the cobblestone-covered street where top artists and craftspersons displayed and sold their works. He got acquainted with one of Florida’s, and the city’s, most renowned oil painters. He drove through torrential rains and winds to St. Augustine Island, to buy a relic nautical bell, from a diver that explored old sunken ships.

 

In South Florida, he gave his daughter a ride to work for three days straight because it took her hatchback auto so long to defrost and warm on cold, icy mornings. Early mornings, he (and Mom) walked along Bal Harbor Beach, between one of Sunny Isle’s most expensive oceanfront condo buildings and Baker’s Haulover Cut, a channel that connected the Intercoastal Waterway to the Atlantic.

 

Outside, he waited in line for an hour or longer to bite into one of the best, and largest, Kosher sandwiches in the Southeast. (He had a Classic Cornbeef; Mom had her Reuben.)

 

The afternoon of Christmas Day, he walked along the southerly stretch of that Bal Harbor Beach. Ahead of his daughter and Mom. His head hung low; his steps slower that usual. Whenever he glanced back at family strolling behind, he wore a contemplative look on his face.

 

One morning, he followed up with a lead from a real estate broker that handled large residential properties in Golden Beach. It was located along a small stretch of ocean property between Sunny Isles and Hollywood.

 

He admired several new oceanfront mansions along Ocean Boulevard. Eventually, he pulled into the drive at the address given to him. A massive, U-shaped stucco mansion, painted in a soft Golden-yellow, towered before him. A lean, bronze-tanned man – the Italian architect – stood by a long and glossy black Mercedes.

 

“Distinguished, friendly” was the way Dad described the man during a long-distance phone call to me on Christmas Day. He also said that the man’s oldest son had been pre-med at Purdue, the same time that I was there.

 

My father got out of his like-new grey Chevy Suburban, and introduced himself. The gentleman laid down his tube of blueprints, then took Dad on a tour of the 10,500 -plus square foot home.

Over thirty minutes later, the two men re-emerged, wide smiles on their faces.

 

After an embrace and a “Chiao,” Dad climbed back into his vehicle. He handed Mom two business cards, and a handwritten note on the architect’s engraved personal stationery. And he said, “We’re moving to Southeast Florida. I’m going into painting here. My own shop. Mr. V is my first client…”

 

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that Dad never made it back to Florida. (Well, not in his well-known earthly form.)

 

FAST FORWARD…

 

Christmas 2017, I will be my sister’s guest when she spends over three days at the Golden Beach home of that Italian architect’s son and his family. Longtime customers of my sister’s employer.

 

When the invitation card was forwarded to me, it contained an interesting old photo. Taken in December of 1992, it showed my father, a distinguished gentleman wearing an Ivory silk suit, and a third man dressed in “painter whites.”

 

They stood in a large marble-walled rotunda at that Golden Beach home. Under a partially-completed dome ceiling: A replica of the Sistene Chapel.

 

Standing to the side of the three men was a man a little younger than I. He was dressed in a black turtleneck and worn jeans. (He looked a little familiar.)

 

“The guy in the dirty jeans is me,” my sister’s Christmas week host had scrawled at the bottom of his invitation note. He added, “I hope that you can make it. Condolences about your father. He would have liked it here. Done very well… My father liked him.”

 

SMALL WORLD, ISN’T IT?

 

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Every meeting in passing is an opportunity about to unfold.  RDH

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Many thanks for doing your work and living your life with a conscientious soul.

And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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