Gus Goes Fishing and the Golden Age of America

Everyone seems to think that the best era ever was when they were growing up. Supposedly I grew up in the Golden Age of America, but who knew? I’m sure people didn’t emerge from their huts in the Ice Age and think, “Whoa, it’s freezing, this must be the Ice Age!”

Surely a big part of our ‘best age’ thinking comes from the fact that we didn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage or the light bill when we are children. We didn’t worry about the economy or meeting sales goals. Our biggest worries were the monster under our bed, which our parents suggested wasn’t real, or whether the catfish were biting today.

This painting is a portrait of Gus, my grandson, when he was about four. You may think it’s a strange portrait since you can’t see his face. But it’s a painting of Gus’ personality. He loves fishing and this morning the grown-ups weren’t in as much of a hurry as he was, so he grabbed his gear to remind them of what was truly important.

For some reason, grown-ups object to four year-olds going fishing by themselves. Something about the danger of drowning or alligators or whatnot. But four year-olds think, “If only they would hurry up (did you see that fish jump?) and next time seriously investigate that monster under the bed.

I hung “Gus Goes Fishing” in the lobby and the residents are enjoying it. Funny thing, they are also renaming it to “Jimmy” or “Connor” because apparently it’s their little boy going fishing, too.

18 X 24, acrylic, gouache and pastels on hardboard.

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