Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Pink Heart Café

Brett gave me a painting for my birthday - a dream come true. Ever since he drew me that first cartoon sketch in my dorm room when we were dating, I have wanted my artist husband to create a painting just for me. Now that he finally has a studio and the time to paint, he is acting more like the artist he has always been - one who actually paints. Yippee!

The painting is abstract with maybe one identifiable element - a heart, my favorite symbol. I love my painting. When he unveiled it for me, it was still wet, but I wanted to touch the thick brush strokes and have a dress made of the colors. I asked him what he had titled the painting. He hadn't thought of a title yet, so he let me name it. I christened the painting "The Pink Heart Café."

A million years ago, when Brett and I were engaged, we were, of course, poor. We were together as much as possible - Cedar City and St. George was the extent of our long distance relationship. Without a lot of cash, and a fiancé who was determined to pay off my engagement ring BEFORE our wedding, we didn't have many official spend-money dates. Being the very mature 18 year old I was, I began to feel a little sorry for myself, not being able to be wooed in the traditional dinner/dancing style. So Brett enlisted some help and came up with a solution to my pouty face.

Brett's sister Marcell is the reason Brett and I are together. Well, she is the one who set us up on the blind date, and then three weeks later, we were engaged. I guess she didn't have to do much except point us in the right direction. (She is responsible for three of her siblings getting hitched, by the way.) So Brett knows that Marcell is the go-to-girl for just about everything, including the setting up of a special date for his fiancé. Sean, Brett's younger brother, also got roped into the plans and it became a family affair.

When I walked into the Kearney home on that July evening in Washington, Utah, there were twinkle lights set up in the living room and a small table with a lace tablecloth. There were hearts everywhere, on the wall, the door, the curtains, and the chairs. As the maitre d'/waiter (Sean) seated us I saw a very personalized menu on the table. The title of the restaurant was in big bold letters across the front page: THE PINK HEART CAFE Now this was in the days before common, household computers and printers. This menu had been created by hand, Brett's hand, complete with hand drawn cartoons, silly personalized jokes, and the meal selection for the night. I think we had BLTs and some kind of strawberry dessert, made, of course, by Chef Marcell. (Who knew that she would later become a kitchen manager at The Olive Garden and now run a school lunchroom?) I still have that precious menu. It is one of the many treasures in my memory box.

27 years later, this painting has claimed the title of that homespun restaurant, and I couldn't be happier. Every time I look at it I remember the love Brett has always poured into everything he has done for me. And that is only one interpretation of this painting. I also say it is a definite expression of my split personality that Brett has had to deal with all these years, but all he says is, "That's the great thing about abstract art. You can interpret it however you want."


Amy said...

When we grow up I hope Josh and I are half as cool as you guys. This is amazing.

ljanlyons94 said...

Love the painting. Thanks for sharing that wonderful memory of the pink heart cafe.