Three months ago, Sally Marbry conceived the idea to transform a utilitarian electrical box in front of the Greyhound station in downtown Redding into a piece of public art. This 18-part series is a chronicle of her work and her observations of life on the corner of Pine and Butte.
Part 17: Small Threats
August 21 Man needs a routine. My daily lure to the trunk for two hours helped make summer count. Wash the trunk and sweep.
An idiot shouts, from the end of the block, to ask if I have 50 cents. I’ve been panhandled only twice. At least get a little closer, so if I do whip out coin, you can catch it.
A cop cruises me. My first glimpse of surveillance. Another cop car streaks down the alley.
No wonder all is vacant this morning.
Tweaking side brackets. Notice I use smaller and smaller brushes. At least I have not been licking my brushes this time.
Indian Joe appears and reports of cop-shakedown-hands-behind-against-the-building morning. They do not realize he works for the station. (News to me.)
A 15-year-old kid sits by me, frustrated that the depot isn’t open yet and tired from waking at five this morning to pack. Going to see his father he has never met. He is dressed in his madras baggy shorts and black tennis shoes. Lookin’ good. Fiddles with a cell phone his sister let him borrow. A call from his dad breaks his deep sighs of anxiety. He reassures his dad of the large quantity of pictures he is bringing to show of him as a young boy. He said his dad would have never found him if he had not lived in the same house for 15 years. He sighs again.
I cut out pieces of paper and stick them on the trunk to figure out label layouts. A guy lobbies for a Seattle sticker. I show him my Seattle World’s Fair graphics I have collected as a possibility. Seattle guy and I discuss if it is “Shasta Lake” or “Lake Shasta.” An old woman, who eavesdrops from her red car, shouts “Shasta Lake.”
Three guys from my group o’ guys walk by and reaffirm their bid for a Wisconsin label.
The cop car returns and Indian Joe fills them in for their report. He says he keeps drunks away, cigarettes at bay and is frustrated with people who mooch.
I sigh and lick my brush.
To be continued…
Visit Sally on September 12 on Pine and Butte as she reveals her electrical box turned masterpiece as part of September’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop.
Sally Marbry has shared her fine art, ceramics and sculpture skills as a teacher, product designer and interior designer. For the past year, Sally has been the host and writer of “Home Zone,” weekly on KLXR. She also chairs Viva Downtown Redding’s Design Committee, which spearheaded the public art and street beautification project. Reach Sally at Earth2Sal@charter.net.