Vernal Equinox Love List
Jet Lagged

A Sunday Drive

O Spring!

Today was lovely, just lovely -- sunny and bright, with a cool breeze blowing, the kind of cool that doesn't bite. Time for a drive!

We took off westward, up to Frederick Maryland, in search of pizza. Alas, the restaurant we were headed for had changed its name and had the temerity to be closed! So... we walked into the center of town, the perfect solution on such a day. We stopped at a brew pub, got our pizza, and then paid our respects to Joe's Uncle Kirk, the subject of this amazing painting.


Yeah, that's Uncle Kirk, portrayed as an angel. Here's a closer look.

Earthbound, by William Cochran and Paul F. Wilson

Here's the kicker -- the whole window, the shutters, the ledge, the arch over the window are all part of the painting. It's a charming example of trompe l'oeil painting.

Kirk was quite a character. He was a Marine during World War II, flying Corsairs in the Pacific theater. After the war, he was a bartender, a bookie, a numbers game operator, and who knows what else. Kirk and my father-in-law started a restaurant in DC called The Good Guys, which they later sold after they realized that you should never start a business with family. (The joint's still around, but now it's titty bar. Great claim to fame, eh?)

Anyway, long after Kirk retired, he was driving down Route 15 when he realized someone was trying to get him to pull over. He sped up instead, but the guy behind him was pretty insistent, matching his speed and almost forcing Kirk off the road. Kirk finally pulled over, and then grabbed his peacekeeper from under the driver's seat as the other guy came up to the window.

Turns out it was the portrait artist, Paul F. Wilson, who was working with William Cochran, an expert trompe l'oeil artist who was working on a series of murals in Frederick. Mr. Wilson saw Kirk and knew that, with his flowing white hair and goatee, Kirk was the perfect model.

So Kirk, who was devil-may-care in life, became immortalized as an earthbound angel.