"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

On a wing and a prayer

Six months before D-Day, this 9" by 12" birth announcement was sent out by my parents. My dad, a technical illustrator at Consolidated Aircraft between Dallas and Fort Worth where the B-24 Liberator bomber was built, drew this stork flying in, with a B-24  radial engine. 
"Coming in on a wing and prayer," was the war-time phrase of many bomber crews flying home with planes shot up in combat and perhaps with wounded on board. So here it is, glued to a  brittle and yellowing page out of a family album.
Dad drew the announcement, had some printed off, and then did the color paints individually. He didn't go to the war, like three of his four brothers, because he had a wooden leg, having lost it under a freight train in Tucumcari 11 years before. That's probably why I'm here at all. If he hadn't lost his leg, he'd never have met my mom. His example led me to do individual birth announcements for each of my children, but they were never works of art.
Seventy years later, I'm still trying to wing it, and praying.

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