NEW ORLEANS: A gift for a gift.
George Wittenberg is an architect and artist who in the past few years has painted scenes of his travels and mailed them back to himself, the stamp artfully placed with the help of whatever post office he’s using. He’s done watercolors of places he’s been in Spain, France, Greece, India … and New Orleans.
Now, he’s hit upon a idea on a fitting way to encourage contributions to the relief effort. He’s giving 8 1/2 by 11 giclee prints of his New Orleans watercolors to people who contribute $150 to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Relief Fund. You choose the print you want at Wittenberg’s website, postcard-art-gallery.com/usa, and send a check made out to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Relief Fund along with a note on which giclee you want to Wittenberg at 1509 Louisiana St., AR 72202. He will forward the check to Clinton’s New York office, which is handling collections, and the giclee print to you. He’s raised about $1,500 in the past couple of weeks.
When The Observer walks a dirt road, we always keep our head down and look for Indian artifacts — maybe a dart point (the big arrow-shaped points) or an arrowhead (the little points), or a grinding stone, or a broken piece of pot. We like to be reminded of the ancient history underfoot, and how much more aesthetic (and once useful) their detritus is than ours.
We are not often rewarded, since so many have trod before us, but we can’t help but look. Because the Arkansas Archeological Survey says to, we’ve filled out forms when we were successful, mapping where we found things. We don’t take artifacts from state or federal property and we don’t dig for stuff to take home and put on the mantle.
In this, we thought we were in good company. We know lots of nice people who hunt for arrow points in dusty roads or did as a child. Fine people.
So imagine our dismay when we read recently that the latest folks to who like to pick up arrowheads are meth-heads. It has become the hobby of the crazed, the criminal and the hopeless.
The Associated Press talked to White County Sheriff Pat Garrett about it. He says every time he busts into a drug house, he finds arrowheads.
“You get kind of wired on that stuff, and you need to have something to do,” a man named Tony Young is quoted by the AP by way of explanation. Young, the AP says, was expounding from a cell in the White County, where he was awaiting trial on methamphetamine charges.
If their only goal is to stay busy and burn energy, why can’t they do society a favor and pick up modern-day trash?
The Observer was trying to pay our club news writer — our staff night owl and bon vivant, the rest of us having reached the age when bedtime is 9 p.m. — a compliment. After we read something particularly funny she’d written last week, we told her, “You have a flair for this.”
She looked up. “I need a therapist?”
She says she hears voices a la Joan of Arc. Now she’s got to worry if she’s misunderstood them.
We looked in the yard of a friend this week and saw white surprise lilies. Never has a flower seemed to have such bite. Just a few weeks ago, our friend unexpectedly lost her brother to a nasty cold that turned fatal. He was 49, and healthy, a farmer with a big family, not the kind of person to succumb to a cold. It was a shock.
And there, in her yard, surprise lilies. White.