Long as I live, so do they

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

During a trip out of town with friends, one of them mentioned seeing the estate sale announcement, but she didn’t remember the date. I hoped it hadn’t taken place yet.

So when I got home, I went to the classified section and there was the ad announcing Richard Folmar’s estate sale. Unfortunately, it took place while I was out of town.

“I wish I’d known about this,” I told my husband. “I would like to have something that belonged to Richard.”

Later that night, I thought about Richard and the memories I have of him. He was part of my childhood visits to my grandmother’s house in Luverne. Being my father’s cousin, we often saw him when we visited Aunt Mae who lived down the street from Grandmamma.

To say he was an amazing artist is an understatement. He brought life to a canvas when he touched it with his brush.

One of my most vivid memories is walking into my great aunt’s house one Christmas day and seeing a piece of Richard’s art. It was the portrait of a bride and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I stood in front of that painting studying every inch and wondering how someone could produce such a wondrous thing with paint and a brush.

I don’t think I ever said much to Richard on those visits because I was a kid and he seemed bigger than life to me and so full of energy. I distinctly remember his laugh and the quirky way he smiled. Funny the things that stay with you from childhood.

After I was grown, my grandmother moved away from Luverne to Opp to be nearer my parents. My great aunt was gone and the visits to Luverne grew fewer and fewer. Occasionally my grandmother mentioned some bit of news she heard about Richard being in Destin painting beautiful beach scenes.

When my grandmother died, and my mother’s mother moved from Luverne, there were no more trips to see relatives. Now and then, I drove through there on my way somewhere and I would think about Richard when I passed that white house with the oval-shaped front door.

Then a couple of years ago, I heard he was back in that house and I decided to call him. It was a spontaneous decision that I was glad I made.

We had a lovely talk about family and those days when we all came together during the holidays. I had a chance to tell him about seeing the portrait of the bride and about how his art moved me. I think he liked hearing it.

I did not hear about his death in September 2010 until long after it happened so I missed the funeral.

Then I didn’t see the estate sale announcement until it was too late to make plans to go. I thought how it would be nice to have something of Richard‘s, especially a piece of his art. It made me a little sad about to think he is gone as are so many people who were part of my life when I was growing up.

Then in the midst of my melancholy, I realized I do not need something that belonged to Richard to remember him. I have available for immediate recall those wonderful, warm feelings I had when I walked into my aunt’s house and saw that painting. And, the smile I have when I recall Richard’s laughter and the pleasure of that last conversation with him is not dependant on any material possession.

Richard and all of the others whose lives moved through mine are still with me in my heart. I need nothing from an estate sale to feel their love and to know that as long as I live so do they.