Summer swelter proves good for art sales

Curt Swarm - Empty Nest

This has happened so many times, I’m not even surprised anymore. I was loading my garden-art sculptures onto the trailer to take them to an art festival in Keokuk. Someone drove by and saw me loading up and decided it might be their last chance to get that special piece of art they’d been wanting for their father for Father’s Day. What the heck? It makes less for me to haul, except I usually have to dig it off the bottom of the pile. That’s life in the art world.
It was a hot day. Ginnie and I had the air conditioner going full blast in my little six-cylinder pickup, pulling that trailer full of junk, I mean art. I noticed the cool air from the air conditioner turning warm. I looked at the heat gauge on the truck and it was pegged. Uh, oh. I headed for the nearest convenience store.
By the time I got stopped steam was rolling out from under the hood, coolant was gushing out from under the truck, and the trailer I was pulling was greasy wet. Double uh, oh. As I was trying to figure out what to do on a blistering hot day, I noticed that a guy who was mowing close by, kept eyeing my trailer. Sure enough, he pulled over and wanted to buy three geese. Yep. I told Ginnie, who was in the convenience store cooling her heels, and we just shook our heads at the irony of it all. Everything happens for a reason.
After letting the truck cool down some, adding water, and getting bad advice from a service station, we proceeded on. We hadn’t gone far when the engine began to make a clicking noise. Triple uh, oh. We pulled over and called a wrecker.
But what to do with the trailer full of art, I mean junk? I called in some markers and was able to borrow a truck, with a much bigger V-8 engine, for the weekend. We rescued the trailer and headed to the art festival a day late, but not a dollar short. Yet. Had I blown an engine? Probably. Mighty expensive weekend. But, hey, we were all safe and sound and fit to fight another day.
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe caboose made into a weekend retreat. Along with the art, my book sales were steady. Ginnie got to sit in air-conditioned comfort, listen to music and handle the photography and book sales. I sat out in the heat and sweltered.
The next day, Sunday, we relocated to Wever for a garden-art tour, like gypsies moving from one town to another, pulling a wagon full of pots and pans. A feature of the residence we were stationed at was that it had a genuine train-caboose cabin, complete with a basement. I kid you not. Sometimes in the midst of everything, you just have to sit back and look around.
Loading up to go home, once again, was my busiest time for sales. No sooner did I have a sculpture on the trailer, but someone wanted it. I’ve noticed this human characteristic before, people love to poke through piles. Myself included.
When the weekend of heat and art was over, Ginnie and I celebrated with soft-serve ice cream and a bucket of KFC. I returned the borrowed truck to its owner and he said, “Shoot, Curt. I’ve been wanting to get a new truck, why don’t you buy my Silverado. You need a bigger truck anyway if you’re going to be pulling a trailer full of metal.” (Notice he didn’t say “junk.”)
So, I did. It was “Tuesday, Good-News Day.” My mechanic called. The engine on my little pickup wasn’t blown, it had a split radiator. Thank you, God.
My 2000 Chevy S10, 4WD is for sale. It has a brand new radiator and knows where to stop in emergencies. My chicks made it through the heat just fine, and we’re never leaving home again.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read on 107.3 FM in Farmington.

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