Bana and Art

Bana and Art

This is my grandma. We call her Bana and she’s always full of adventures.

Today will be boring, though, because Bana has other things to do all morning long. No trip to the lake. No adventure through the creek. No nature hikes. Boring.

After reading a few adventure books with Bana she says she has to leave for her Book Club. “Come here, Bonita. Here’s your adventure for the day. These are my paints and some paper. This stack of paper is for practicing your painting ideas. This stack of special paper is for your favorite idea. I have a special frame here for one of your works of art.”

I looked up on the wall at my favorite painting of Bana’s. On another wall is one my Aunt Scooby painted. They are both artists. Mine will never be that good.

Bana can see the doubt on my face. “Bonita, painting is an adventure just like swimming, hiking, and exploring in the woods. There isn’t just one right way. Every work is special. Play with the paints, explore your ideas, and see where the adventure leads you.”

While Grandpa Rock sits in the living room watching baseball, as usual, I get to work exploring with Bana’s paints. Page after page of the practice paper gets used up. I’m no good.

“Home run!” yells Grandpa happily. Must be the Cardinal’s. He makes me jump and splash my paints.

Grandpa comes to see what I’m up to. “These are all very good, Emily. How will you ever choose which one to frame?”

“Grandpa, you’re just being nice. I quit. Let’s just watch baseball.”

As we watch, I wonder, “Why can’t they hit the ball every time? They’re grown-up professionals and shouldn’t make mistakes, Grandpa.”

“Life is an adventure, Emilita. It’s not about doing things right. It’s about trying. And what about the pitcher? If the other team hit the ball every time, he would be failing, right?”

“Well, I’m trying to paint like Bana and Aunt Scooby, but I just can’t.”

“They messed up a lot, too. These are just some of their favorite works of art. You aren’t supposed to paint like them. You’re supposed to paint like you. Come here.” He leads me back to the spare room where there is a trunk. It’s full of Bana’s messy practice papers.

I know what I’ll paint now. I can make mine different from Bana and Aunt Scooby.

“Bana! You’re finally back. Look what I painted!”

“These are all wonderful, Bonita. Isn’t it fun to make mistakes, and try again?”

“Grandpa told me my art can be different and still be good, so I painted one for him.”

Painting and baseball can be fun adventures, too.

Bana and the Pool

This is my grandma and we call her Bana. She loves to have me visit for a week or two in the summer and join her on fun adventures. My Bana knows all sorts of fun places to explore.

Today is hot and sunny so we get to go to the pool. It’s not exactly an adventure, but we love to swim.

“Bonita, you’ll need your sneakers on for this adventure.”

“Bana, you know we can’t wear them in the pool like we did at the creek.”

“Trust me, Bonita.” Oh, my. What does my Bana have planned for today?

We walk out of the house with our backpacks on. Inside are our towels, sunscreen, water bottles, and goggles. In the driveway Bana walks right past the car! Yes! An adventure for sure! Where is she going?

At the stop sign at the end of the street we carefully cross and walk to the low bridge that crosses Indian Creek. This creek only has water in it when it has rained recently. It does have water in it today, but not much.

“When your mom was little, most of these houses weren’t here and she and your Aunt Scooby, Uncle Bobby and their cousins would play and explore down here. Let’s go!”

We walk right up the creek bed. Bana stops. “Let’s find a crawdad. Stand still.” We each catch one, but I drop mine back in. Eww! I just watch them scamper from rock to rock under the water as we walk up the creek.

At the park we climb out of the creek bed and walk to the pond. “This used to be hidden from the road in the middle of this field.” “But Bana, it’s right in the middle of the park! See the playground? And the baseball field, the tennis courts, and the pool is just over there!”

“I know, Bonita, but it’s true.”

On the far side of the pond are several old fashioned houses. “Which one is your home, Bonita?”

“Um. I think this one with the nice front porch. That way I can see the pond, the ducks, and watch out for trespassers on my homestead.” Bana and I like to pretend. She picks the house next to mine and we sit on the porches of our houses for a bit.

“No trouble today. Let’s go for a swim.” We walk to the pool and jump in. We pretend it’s actually the pond in front of our prairie homes.

What an adventure: hiking in the creek, catching crawdads, walking around the pond, sitting on my porch, and swimming in the pond!

I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Bana and the Rainy Day

This is my Grandma. We call her Bana. When my oldest brother Julius was two she was always giving him bananas, so he would look up at her and say, “Bana.” The rest of us just started calling her that, too, so she’s our Bana.

Bana always takes us on adventures. Today is a dark, rainy day. No adventure possibilities in sight and I’m sad. Grandpa Rock is just sitting in his same old chair watching the Cardinal’s baseball game.

“Let’s have an indoor adventure today!” says Bana.

“What do you mean? Indoors is boring.” I’m confused, but my eyes light up because nothing is ever boring when Bana is around.

“Pick your favorite book from the shelf and come to the back room.” Well, I like reading, but that is certainly not the adventure I had in mind. Exploring the creek last week in the middle of the forest was really exciting.

I pick my favorite book, “Ferdinand,” and walk dejectedly to the back room that is mine when I stay with my grandparents.

“Bana, what have you done?” The quilt and sheets are all over the place. She had them stretched from one bed to the other, held down with big, thick dictionaries. She is standing there grinning, holding an old lamp in her hands.

“Come on, Bonita! Let’s go camping!”

Amazed, I watch her duck down and crawl under the quilt tent. I quickly follow and soon see that she has another quilt on the floor like the bottom of a tent. We settle in and read my favorite book. Every couple of pages Bana stops and says she hears a racoon, or says, “Wait. Did you hear that noise? Maybe it’s a deer. The forest is full of wonderful animals”

I giggle each time. I like our campground in the forest. When we finish the book I realize, “I’m hungry, Bana”

“Me, too. Let’s cook hot dogs and S’mores on our campfire.”

WHAAAT?? Outside in the rain? Silly Bana, we can’t do that. I stare at her incredulously.

“Just you wait and see, Bonita. Grab the hot dogs, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers from the kitchen and meet me in the garage.” Grandpa Rock just looks at us like we’re crazy and keeps watching the Cardinal’s baseball game on tv.

When I open the door to the garage, almost dropping the bag of marshmallows, I see two fold-out, soccer chairs around a can balanced on a metal stand sitting on the cement floor. The garage door is open. The can has an almost invisible blue flame like a strange candle. Bana even has two metal hangers straightened ready for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows!

We roast our lunch over our rainy-day-campfire in our rainy-day-forest while looking out at the rain.

“Thanks for the S’mores and the campout, Bana.”

“Thanks for going on my camping adventure today, Bonita.”

I wonder what adventure Bana will take me on next.

Bana and Bark Shed Creek

Bana is my grandma. She likes taking me on adventures. We live in Arkansas. In Arkansas there are lots of places for outdoor exploring and adventures.

“ Where are we going today, Bana?” It’s a hot, hot day in July. I came back inside after only 15 minutes of playing in the yard and climbing trees.

“Let’s see what we can see at Bark Shed, Bonita. You better wear your bathing suit.”

Yea! Swimming in different places is Bana’s favorite type of adventure, especially in the summer.

Today we drive so long I think we’ll never get there! At the end of a gravel road through a thick, green forest she says, “We’re here!” It didn’t look like much to me: a small, low, cement bridge, a small, clear creek, and lots of rocks instead of sand.

Bana tells me to keep my sneakers on because of the rock beach, even in the water! I don’t argue because I was so awfully hot and couldn’t wait to jump in the creek.

Whoosh! Yikes! I the water cold? No. Freezing? Yes! It is perfect for this yucky, hot day! It feels glorious to wade into the incredibly ice-cold creek water with it’s rock bed. The water is so clear you can see the details of every rock. You can even see every detail of your shoes under the water.

On the far side of the rock beach are ledges and cliffs and the water is a bit deeper, over my head and even Bana’s. We swim over to the nearest ledge, climb up, and jump off the lowest rock ledge. Yippee!

“Let’s try the next one up, Bana!” Higher and higher we climb and jump. Bana says her brother, my Great Uncle Loren, jumped from the very tip top where there are trees growing!

Maybe next adventure. I’m ready for my picnic lunch.

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