Artists Get Away with Everything

Last weekend I went for a relaxing vacation in Fairhope, Alabama with my husband and daughter. Fairhope is a cozy and charming hamlet half hour north of the Gulf of Mexico, on the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay. (Description probably useful for a tourist guide, if anyone wants it.) We stayed with an artist friend, Susie Bowman, and hung out with two other artist friends, Tony and Rachel Wright. One evening as the sun was setting, Scott and Tony fished from Susie's dock (that is surely bigger than our house in Birmingham) and caught some whopping catfish and croakers--at least 5 or six inches long. The rest of us sat in rocking chairs with our feet up, taking in the colors and laughing at the men's persistent display of unmanliness.

Anyway, the best story of the evening came from Rachel, who relayed her tale of living as a Bohemian in Greece for a couple years, so poor they had to walk up 6 flights of stairs to live in a run-down place with no running water. One night while walking on the Grecian beach they found a dead sheep, and, being artists, decided the bones might be useful in a work of art. Of course. Who wouldn't? So they, naturally, set the sheep on fire to get the flesh off. Around this campfire they cooked up the only food they had, sent from Rachel's mom in America--a can of Vienna Sausages. Quite a picture for us listeners.

When the sheep fire died down, they cleaned up the bones and saved them to take back to the USA. Some time later, while the Wrights were getting ready for their return flight, a customs officer came across the black bones in his search of Tony's bag. His question was one I have heard a million times, the age old question which, once answered, lets me and my friends get away with any and all forms of lunacy. "What are you, an artist or something?"

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