Dad and Degas
For the last several months I had tried to convince my 78 year-old father to go see the Degas: A New Vision exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. I don’t live in Houston anymore, so when I’m there I try to have family time with my older parents. Going to the exhibit by myself wouldn’t be family time.
On every one of my regular visits to H-town, I’d bring up the possibility of us going to see the Degas exhibit but my father wold defer, saying “It’s just not to my taste” while shaking his head. Although Degas painted plenty of horses, I suspect Milton didn’t want to go to see the art because Degas is best known for his paintings of ballet dancers…and Milton really isn’t into ballet.
On the weekends when Milton can’t go to his office and the “money tv” shows about the stock market aren’t on, Milton would much rather stay home and watch college football, re-re-re-watch “Lonesome Dove” to check for whatever nuances that he might have somehow missed on his last re-viewing, or hang out with Agent Gibbs and the crew from NCIS. Given that Milton is highly reminiscent of oilman “J.R.” Ewing from the television show “Dallas” (as played by Larry Hagman in the original series)–but on a power scooter instead of a horse– I would have had a much easier time getting him to go to the firing range than the art museum to see ballet pictures.
Over the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend we had discussed what our Sunday afternoon entertainment might be, tentatively planning a movie (selected for guns and car chases, not reviews) and maybe a trip to the mall.
On Sunday morning we were attending “Mattress Methodist” a.k.a. the live broadcast of the First Methodist Houston service.
On television, First Methodist Houston’s lively new head preacher Andy Nixon was talking about the very same Degas exhibit that I’d been wanting to see. He told us we really ought to go and that it was closing soon. As in it was closing this weekend! (Thank goodness Yale Divinity School graduate Nixon wasn’t wearing his eyeball searing Christmas service suit when he gave the advice to go the art museum. Otherwise people might not have listened to him!)
So I changed our Sunday entertainment plans. Gleefully telling my family that “The Lord works in mysterious ways!” and “The preacher on tv told me I had to go!” I decided that we all now HAD to go to this Degas exhibit later that Sunday, as the weather was good (good weather is key when you are rolling with a posse who can’t run between the raindrops.) So I re-upped my MFAH membership and we headed the Suburban downtown.
Since my dad had a handicapped tag, we rolled right into a great parking space and skipped threading the space between the ropes getting into the exhibit. My father spent a lot of the exhibit looking at the front panel which put Degas in historical perspective with French historical events, although he concluded that he didn’t do much with his art until his father died and he had to go to work. (Milton noted that it was a shame that this history wasn’t available somewhere, if anyone at the MFAH is listening!)
On the way out, I had to pay for my Sunday entertainment. My father’s scooter battery ran out of power on our way back to the suburban and my husband and I had to push my father in his scooter back into the parking lot. Thank goodness Houston is flat, because my 6’6” father isn’t a petite flower of a person.
Considering that Degas’ art was all about showing musculature—of either horses or dancers—I find it fitting that my heavenly enabled visit to the art museum ended in a proper workout.
I guess the good lord does work in mysterious ways. I had been meaning to start that exercise program sometime in January and now I guess I have. All thanks to some pictures of dancers.
The last day of the MFA Degas exhibit was Monday Jan 16.