Up & Coming Weekly

January 11, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 6 of 36

6 UCW JANUARY 12, 2022 - JANUARY 18, 2022 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Unaccustomed to tooting my own horn, today's column is full bore tooting. If reading another bragging Christmas letter is not your thing, kindly turn the page. Do not go any further. Spoiler alert, this column will make both my readers feel inad- equate. Until this Christmas past, I did not realize that Christmas was a contest. My youngest son, Will, point- ed out that I had won Christmas this year. How you might inquire, did I win Christmas? Funny, you should ask. Allow me to retort. I accomplished something Dads, and Husbands face every Yuletide Season. I purchased an item that warned, "Some assem- bly required." ese are words that strike fear into the hearts of men across the fruited plains. After my wife and I retired, the Rona arrived full force. For over a year, we left the house only to purchase sup- plies. To deal with the prospect of massive boredom and to avoid having to talk to me 24 hours a day, my wife Lani took up painting. Before Rona, she had been a painter but only painted Agree- able Gray on apartment walls. After Rona, she took up painting pictures, took art courses and turned a little-used room into an art studio. It turns out she is an excellent painter. She had hidden her art- ist talents under a bushel for the forty-plus years we have been married. But enough about her, this column is about me. Painting is a hobby similar to photography in that there are an almost infinite number of things you can buy to pursue your dreams of artistic immortality. We acquired an easel and the usual widgets. Lately, she had been sitting on the floor to paint, which was fine until the time came to get up off the floor. We had not purchased a skyhook, so her rising was a bit more challenging than sitting down. Being observant for once, it occurred to me that if she had some sort of art desk/easel contraption, she might be a bit more comfortable sitting during painting sessions. At a local art supply store, I found something called the Art and Crafts Creative Center, a fancy desk and stool. It came in a box all the way from China with literally 97 pieces to be assembled. e package was so heavy that I used a hand truck to haul it into the house. e 20-page instruction book was diagrams only. No words of comfort to encourage the would-be assem- bler. Just inscrutable diagrams with 17 easy steps to assemble the beast. My favorite diagram, Step 9, illustrates this column. To say I have few mechanical abilities would be to far over- state my skills in putting things together. Flipping the correct switch on the breaker box exceeds my level of accomplishment. Yet here I was, the day after Christmas confronting a seem- ingly impossible task. I was armed only with a screwdriver and a fatalistic determination to get the Creative Center assem- bled or die trying. e magnitude of the task facing me was more daunting than the challenge faced by the Greeks at the Battle of ermo- pylae. As you no doubt recall, way back in 480 BC, 300 Spartan warriors under King Leonidas fought 10,000 Persians under King Xerxes. e 300 Spartans, against overwhelming odds, man- aged to delay the Persians long enough for the rest of the Greek army to get into position, and they ultimately defeated the Persians. e bravery and stubbornness of the Spartans saved Western civilization. As I faced the overwhelming odds of assembling the now un- boxed artistic monster, I called upon the spirit of Leonidas to give me strength. For three hours without a break, I valiantly did my best to assemble the mighty beast. Steps 1 and 2 were inscrutable as the diagram did not remotely resemble the legs that came with the box. e actual legs were far differ- ent from those shown. Alas and Alack! Trying to make sense of the in- comprehensible instructions, I felt like the narrator in Edgar Al- len Poe's e Raven, who almost said: "Once upon an afternoon dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten diagrams." A lesser man would have quit in disgust. But the spirit of Leonidas was with me. I persevered and inno- vated with the misbegotten legs. Conquering the first two steps gave me the confidence to move on to the next 15 steps. Displaying an almost inhu- man resolve to complete the task, I only cursed once during the entire process. It was a relatively mild curse that Rhett Butler might have issued when he left Scarlett O'Hara at the end of Gone with the Wind. Surprising my whole family and mostly myself, I constructed the artsy desk in one sweat- soaked afternoon with only three pieces left over. Lani was delighted with the desk. My son Will awarded me the Winner of Christmas Award. Life was good. A picture of the desk with her latest artwork is attached above. Moral of this story: When confronted with a difficult task, may the determination of King Leonidas be with you. How I won Christmas by PITT DICKEY PITT DICKEY, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. OPINION An arts and craft table and easel gifted to Lani Dickey by her husband Pitt Dickey for Christmas. The desk came with diagram instructions and legs that did not match those drawn in the diagrams. Despite the complexity of the instructions Pitt Dickey successfully assembled the desk. (Photo courtesy of Pitt Dickey.) Step 9, a diagram from the instruc- tions for an arts and craft table and easel gifted to Lani Dickey by her hus- band Pitt Dickey for Christmas. (Photo courtesy of Pitt Dickey.)

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