It was an honor to be selected by the Holland Symphony to paint Pleasant Hill Farm - the setting for their benefit dinner.
Proudly I gave my eighty-eight-year-old Mom an invitation to attend with me. She put the date on her calendar and didn’t say much more.
The night of the dinner, I drove Mom south of Holland. Shortly, we turned onto a dusty, two-track lane. A canopy of maple trees enveloped around us as we inched our way along the narrow, bumpy road. Then, at the top of a crest, the forest opened into a vast field of prairie grasses that danced in the wind. In the distance sat the isolated rustic barn of Pleasant Hill.
“I told my friend, Martha, I was going on a mystery trip,” Mom said.
“What’s the mystery?” I asked.
“Well, this of course,” she said, waving her arm at the rolling fields. “Who eats dinner in the middle of nowhere?”
Once inside the barn the smell of raw wood filled the air. In the cavernous space, open wood beams crossed high above our heads and our footsteps echoed along with those of an army of caters as they created a dressed-to-the-nines backdrop. Being a guest artist to the event, I set up my station.
I’ve never painted in such a picturesque setting: sunlight streaming through wavy old barn windows, the symphony's notes of Beethoven floating in the air, and the scrumptious scent of the farm-to-table meal tingling my taste buds.
At dinner, Mom declared, “I’ve never had such tasty, tomatoey lasagna. And these little red specs on the green beans, Mmm-mmm- mmm.”
Driving home, Mom said, “I’d like to go on that Mystery Dinner again. Tomorrow would do nicely.”