Niki & Bene, one of my first pet portraits
Bene and Niki live with my dear friend Lynne, whose phone calls often include the sentence, ‘Oh come on, it will be fuuuuuuuuun!’ She is one of my favorite people, because I truly never know what to expect from her. We met a few years ago when she was our landlady. Upon arriving at her house pick up the key, I waited patiently at the front door while she went looking for it. I didn’t mind, I closed my eyes and pretended that I was at the beach, which was easy because she had a motion-sensored wave machine on her front porch. She reemerged from the house a few minutes later with a small brown paper bag full of keys.
“One of these should work.”
There were 19 keys in the bag.
“Do you own other properties?”
She looked at me, confused. “No, why?”
And so it began.
Lynne’s love of flamingos and mermaids is unparalleled. Her house and yard were full of pink birds and mythical sea creatures. One more than one occasion, I have witnessed Lynne poking with her cane at a pile of recently delivered boxes, precariously standing in a corner and state confidently “That’s some of my new mermaids I bet, let’s open it up.”
She had a stroke some years ago and sometimes uses that cane as an extension of her hand, often pointing it at things or people. I can report accurately that she has scared at least one salesman with it- I was there, I saw it happen.
We once arrived to pick her up for dinner, only to be met at the door by her friend Tonda, who said in a stage whisper, “She painted her hair pink today. She wanted to do poor Bene’s too… if not for that knee replacement she might have caught him.”
When she bought a house and asked me to drive by and see it before she moved in, I had to resist the urge to put down the car window & shout a warning to her new neighbors:
“THE FLAMINGOS ARE COMING, THE FLAMINGOS ARE COMING!”
At the end of moving day, she called and asked us to come over to help her get some ‘important things’ out of the garage, where all of the Rubbermaid bins holding her possessions were stored. Yes, you read that correctly, she moved everything she owned in plastic bins. I know this because I took her to the store to buy them out one evening after my yoga class. As she stood in front of a huge stack of bins, she reported to me that she had already bought them out and requested that they order more at once. I knew the salespeople were looking at us oddly when we walked in, at least now I knew why.
When we arrived to assist with locating ‘the important things’ on moving day, she went to work pointing her cane at bins she wanted moved into the house. The view of the contents afforded by the clear plastic bins brought forth the realization that the majority of the ‘important things’ we were moving in were, in fact, mermaids and flamingos. Silly me, I assumed we would be moving clothes and toiletries.
“Lynne, are we moving anything this evening besides mermaids and flamingos?”
She winked at me.
“Only if I can find the bin holding the booze.”
The photo used for this pet portrait can be seen on my homepage.