'The Good Book' 

The Good Book


What happened last night is a sublime example of friendship and love. It is indubitable proof that there is goodness in this world. Please allow me to tell you the story of The Good Book.


I was attending an elegant reception at the prestigious Insight Gallery, in Fredericksburg, TX, a quaint German town in the heart of the charming Hill Country. What a joy and honor it is to drive from San Antonio just to walk into that great palace of fine arts and give a well-deserved salutation to the great collection of artworks – all museum quality – guaranteed to welcome us at the fine gallery.


The evening was truly exceptional for us, as Insight had bestowed upon Gladys the title of Distinguished Fine Artist, a prestigious honor reserved exclusively for the most exceptional and talented professionals, those considered "the finest of the finest," showcasing their sublime pieces at the gallery. In an extraordinary moment, a profound sense of awe and admiration overcame me as I approached the wall where Gladys's work proudly hung. There, adorning her paintings, stood a wooden shield bearing the inscription "Texas Master" which serve as a delicate yet powerful witness to her exquisite and consummate mastery of the fine art of painting, leaving me truly mesmerized.


One of these magnificent paintings was "The Good Book," a masterpiece in which our daughter Annie, perpetually beautiful, exuded delicacy and unmatched elegance. Her innocent countenance, adorned in a dress that defies adequate description by even the most eloquent pen, and surrounded by white roses whose incomparable aroma I could almost perceive when lost in the splendor of this marvelous portrait, elevated it to the status of one of our all-time favorites. The sheer brilliance and drama captured within this painting etched an indelible mark on our hearts.


I am unable to accurately articulate the deep pain Gladys and I felt as we prepared for its delivery to the gallery, knowing full well that we would probably never see it again! We may never learn the identity of the person who would make The Good Book a part of their collection. No words will ever suffice to describe the terribly complex emotions I felt as I saw the red dot that adorned The Good Book, which unequivocally and irrevocably proclaimed that the painting had indeed found a new home.


I walked up to Gladys a few times in an effort to reassure her. I whispered words such as, "Other magnificent Roldan-de-Moras paintings will surely see the light soon enough," and "Great things are coming, as always." I don’t think I was entirely convincing, as the bittersweet tone of my voice probably betrayed my sadness and conflicting emotions. I remember thinking to myself, "One of Gladys’s paintings, perhaps her best, has earned her prestigious and well-deserved recognition, but it has come at a great emotional cost to us: We have to let it go." The weight of this realization settled heavily upon me, stirring a whirlwind of conflicting emotions.


Our drive to Fredericksburg, just a little less than 90 minutes, was made significantly warmer as we basked in the delightful company of Charles Walker. We always cherish the opportunity to invite our dear friend Charles to accompany us on our adventurous trips to Insight. Charles, a passionate opera buff and an exceptional conversationalist, is a cherished guest at every family gathering – be it Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners or joyous wedding celebrations. His presence adds an extra layer of joy to these special occasions.


As Gladys quickly became a sought-after artist that evening, Charles and I went around the gallery, enjoying its incredible collection of fine works. Insight is truly an amazing destination, as it features with a plethoric collection of eclectic paintings and sculptures of Western Art.  


Eventually, Charles and I found ourselves coming back to The Good Book. I could not help telling Charles about our sadness in letting that particular painting go. I let him know I was somewhat curious about the identity of the buyer responsible for the red dot on the wall. To my astonishment, my dear friend exclaimed: “It was I who bought The Good Book. Gladys told me a few weeks what the painting meant to your family. I would like for Annie to have it one day.”


“Charles, help me understand,” I exclaimed. “You purchased the painting but plan to give to Annie?”


With a frank smile, Charles answer. “That’s exactly what I said. I have instructed the gallery to give it back to Gladys. I want that incredible painting to go to Annie’s when she gets married. You and Gladys can take it home with you and give it to her in a few years.”

I remember uttering a few words that were as inadequate as they were insufficient while trying to express my deep sense of gratitude to Charles.


Charles then called Meredith, Insight’s gracious owner, who was in on Charles’s secret.  He said to her, discreetly, “Let’s do this, Meredith.”


Meredith beckoned Gladys and said, “I want you to meet the collector who found a home for The Good Book,” as she pointed to Charles.


Gladys could not believe it and was unable to say anything. After her initial silence, she thanked Charles profusely: “I am so happy it was you, Charles! Now we know who has the painting and we will always be able to see it when we visit you.”


Charles was very quick to reply, “I no longer have any room at home for this painting. It is yours to take home. I want Annie to have it!” Gladys, Annie, and I were overwhelmed with emotions so deep that we were rendered speechless. Abundant grateful tears rolled down our cheeks as the weight of Charles's generosity touched our hearts profoundly.


Friendship and goodness are alive and well. Thank you for the bottom of our heart, Charles!!!




March 2, 2013