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the mural (a very tall tale)

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

“i have not failed. i've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

― thomas a. edison

disclaimer: i usually write a blog about the image or images i create. today, this image inspired this blog/short story. it's not an image i created for it's beautiful or cool factor. as my wife said, "that's.....interesting" 😂. the scene before me made me chuckle; neurons began to fire some "creative charges" through the synapses of my brain. after reading it, some of you may say, "really steve?" others of you may say, "not bad, steve, but don't quit your day job quite yet...". then others may say, "whoa, dude! you're pretty good at this!" i hope it's the last one 😉 but regardless of your opinion, thanks for indulging me as i try and spread my creative chops a little. we can't grow without taking some risks in our lives. hence the thomas edition quote above!

i have a secret to tell you. shhhhh…..don’t tell anyone this…..

i’m a mural whisperer

I was walking back from making an image at gold medal hill. i talked about that image in my previous blog. if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link to it…

as i was walking back, i came to this mural of a gentleman that was looking at the steps cordoned off. he seemed confused about something. i stood there for a bit looking at him and i finally couldn’t take it any longer. i had to find out why he looked confused.

as a, shhhhh....mural whisperer, i have to figure out how to get the mural to come to life. they are a finicky bunch; they require just the right combination of words and actions. i decided to start with my most successful combination. i have a 71 percent success rate with it. i walked up and stood in front of the gentleman in the mural. i stretched up on my tippy toes with arms curled over the head. i then twirled for 8 seconds with the grace of a bulldog being made to dance for its treat, all the while chanting “mural, mural, oh so coy…time to speak to stevie boy!”

i stopped and, huffing and puffing, i waited….


i closed my eyes, relaxed the mind and thought for a minute. i began to receive a notion about what I needed to do. strangely enough, it involved one of my dad’s signature moves. i began to skip back and forth in front of the mural and began whistling the theme song to the andy griffith show. i knew magic was happening; i can’t whistle, much less even hear a whistle.

i stopped, once again, huffing and puffing from the wondrous act of liturgy i had just performed. i actually think i performed it quite brilliantly! i watched the gentleman in the mural. slowly but surely, his eyebrows began to twitch. soon his eyes were blinking. then he stretched his neck looking left to right. as his face returned to the starting point, he noticed me! he began to move his lips around, almost like priming himself to speak. and then it happened!

from a glorious baritone vocal tone reminiscent of mel tormé singing came an unexpected question! “hey dum, dum! you bring me gum gum?” unexpected as it is surely one of the most iconic lines from one of the most iconic movies of all time - night at the museum!

i was delighted and laughed to hear such wit! my delight and laughter quickly faded, though, when the gentleman kept a stern gaze on me. i then realized he was serious!

keeping my wits about me, i furiously strategized where i was going to procure gum for him. if there is one thing i have learned in life, it’s that all of life’s problems can be resolved utilizing key movie moments. i scrolled through several of them in my head and hit upon one just for this moment! i ran over to the handrails on the steps. i ran up the incline on the one side and slid down the incline on the other side; all the while i was ripping off the gum applied over the years to the underside of the handrails. once i had gathered them all, i then, in rapid succession, threw them one after another into the gaping mouth. i can’t lie; watching the movie “elf” really did pay dividends!

“why did you call for me?” said the gentleman as he began to chew the gum back to its original elasticity.

i got right to the point. “i couldn’t help but notice you seem very confused about these steps. why is that?”

“son”, he began, “you all are minnesotans. it should be a given that everyone just runs up and down steps even if covered in snow and ice.” his voice was raising in intensity… “if it’s slippery, then grab the handrails and hold on! but don’t cordon off the steps! good golly man! you are a minnesotan!” he spelled it out before ending the tirade with a drawl. “m-i-n-n-e-s-o-t-a-n - minnnneeeesssooootaaaannn!” finished with the outburst, he chewed with a ferocious fervency and eyed me; he was waiting to see how i would react.

i knew i needed to restore goodwill and quickly! i chose a couple of tactics from many movie moments that would make everything right again; at least i hoped it would.

i fired off my first tactic - agreement.

“you are absolutely right!”, i said, “we minnesotans should be ashamed of ourselves for having common sense and being careful to avoid accidents. what were we thinking?”

then, i threw a curveball tactic, literally - a diversion.

“oh hey! how about this winter were having, eh? it’s turning into everybody’s favorite winter; we just can’t get enough of the snow!”

it worked! the gentleman's chewing slowed down. his face transitioned from a steely gaze to a contented expression. we continued to banter about winter and other important things in our lives, such as why peter pan peanut butter trumps all else.

finally, the time came to say our goodbyes as the hour was late. i stood before the gentleman and, with tears of gratitude streaming down my face, thanked him for a most memorable night of conversation. as he began to recede back into his profile imprinted on the side of the guthrie theater, he left me with one more piece of sage advice…“hey dum dum! next time no stale gum gum!”

i hope you enjoyed this blog/short story! i'd love to hear some feedback if you are willing to share it. consider following my blogs by subscribing to receive email notifications, when a new one is published, on my website. you can find the subscription box at the bottom of my website pages. you can also click the like and follow buttons on my facebook page to receive notifications of new blogs as well.

as always, i'd love to have my blogs shared with others you know would also enjoy reading it. if you are reading it on my website, you can share via the social media buttons or the link provided after the blog. you can also copy/paste the url address at the top. if you are reading this on my facebook page, hit the share button and post to your feed.

this is not an image i will be posting for sale in my online store. as i mentioned at the beginning, it was an inspiration for writing this blog/short story. however, if for instance, you really enjoyed this short story, would like a copy to display in your home/business and also have a photo print to go with it, you can contact me using the contact form at the bottom of my website pages or the send message button on my facebook page. i'll be more than happy to help you with that!

thanks again for your support! it means the world to me! i'll be seeing you soon with more "images from my quiet world!"

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