I had an interesting trade proposition of an oil panting. The painting features a dead frog and a caterpillar. Whether the caterpillar is supposed to be alive or not I have no idea.

The painting was “spooky.” On one of the stems of the flower arrangement a cricket or a cockroach appears to be standing still. I was reminded of an 1800’s era painting I had seen at a museum looking at it. The harder I looked the more things I saw.

Art is like candy corn. Some people love it while others hate it. Was there a market to flip this item at Texas Twins Treasures? I had no idea but the request was so sad that I had committed to this client whether the painting was involved or not. I follow my heart as all of my dedicated readers know.

Jonathan had found the painting in his grandmothers storage. Since March he had been unable to see her due to the no visitation ban in Texas. She died in a Texas nursing home yesterday. I’m pretty sure from a broken heart.

Visits from Jonathan brightened his “Mee Maws” day. He posted photos all of the time with his grandmother. He painted her nails as well as styling her hair.

Jonathan is a hairdresser and on a limited income. He plans to cremate the grandmother he loved so dearly and last saw in March due to his finances. His grandmother had no life insurance.

I read his email with tears in my own eyes knowing his loss would forever leave a hole in his heart. In fact, I answered him without even looking at the odd painting he had included as an attachment. Why was the frog dead?

Jonathan needed someone to conduct the memorial and wanted two wreaths of his grandmothers favorite flowers for the backyard ceremony at his mothers home. I also had an urn I had taken in trade a few years ago I offered him. All before looking at the trade he wished to make? Yes.

I hear from people all over the world. Sometimes they need a kind ear. Other times they need services. No two requests are alike. They never have been. Each person has a story. A background. They share their stories with me although Jonathan didn’t need to as we are connected via social media several years ago.

I googled “painting of flowers with dead frog.” This was obviously a replication based on what I found via Google. Still Life with a Vase of Flowers and a Dead Frog , Jacob Marrel, 1634. oil on panel, h 40cm … In this painting as well, tulips play a leading role.

Did Jonathan’s grandmother paint? Has she painted a replication herself or found it at a thrift store or yard sale? We will never know. Normally it’s not unusual for me to keep or refurbish items I take in trade but this particular item didn’t have a place even in my eclectic home. I decided to ask Jonathan “if he wanted to keep it?” Like me the dead frog “freaked him out.”

I called an art dealer I frequently use to get an appraisal.

Then I began going through my warehouse for a quick check of my floral designs to see if I had any silk magnolias. Jonathan said his grandmother loved magnolias.

There are two very different and diverse sets of people who have been impacted by the effects of Covid-19, nursing homes and prisons. Both sets of loved ones were effectively “cut off” from visiting seniors and inmates in Texas mid March. Governor Abbott also closed all schools.

Sadly, seniors are dying and they are dying alone in their last days without contact of loved ones. Inmates are far healthier than seniors and death is and has been quite rare for inmates while death has been coming in literal waves for seniors in nursing homes. I believe the isolation may play a role. Depression and anxiety are affecting inmates while desperation and isolating at the end of their lives are affecting seniors.

The horror stories of phone calls to their children in nursing homes breaks my heart. Seniors beg their children to come see them or pick them up. This happened with my husbands father. He called at all hours of the night demanding to be picked up from the nursing home. It crushed my husband but we weren’t equipped to care for his father and his many ailments. He needed medical attention.

Throughout the past four months, I’ve had several current clients experience job loss or wage cuts. These clients have been flipped to The Pawning Planners from Texas Twins Events and TDCJ Officiant. No one planned on losing their job or taking a wage cut.

Traditionally, bookings through The Pawning Planners only account for 5% of my bookings.

Throughout this pandemic that number has bounced to 20% of my bookings due to flipped clients and new requests.

Trying to stay positive for my senior clients who were planning weddings that can’t due to visitation bans as well as my clients planning to marry an inmate in various states is currently on hold due to visitation bans. We can only wait to hear good news of visitation being reinstated to both nursing homes and prisons.

The ongoing mask debate on location is going to be addressed in this blog because it needs to be. If we are at a venue that requires masks, we must wear them. Please do not argue this point on location. It’s in everyone’s best interest to follow guidelines put in place. Thank you.