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Letter from Publisher - May 2021

Apr 29, 2021 06:21PM ● By Dave Korba

There’s a close-up, framed photograph of bright red, yellow, pink and purple colored balloons hanging on my office wall in front of a brightly lit translucent background, evoking a sense of playfulness and joy.


 The photograph is covered with glass in a narrow gold frame surrounded by a broad, white border and complimented by a narrow, pink border closest to the photo. The photographer’s signature is written on the outer white border underneath the photo. Under the glass at the bottom of the photo is an old-fashioned key and a short length of twine, placed there after the photo was acquired.


I purchased the photo at a craft show in Richmond in 1984 and gave it to my mother to brighten her spirits on what I did not know would be the night before she died. She had recently been hospitalized and I visited her that evening and showed her the framed photograph. I told her I thought of her when I saw it and bought it for her to cheer her up. She held it, smiled a faint smile and said, “Thank you,” and not much more. She wasn’t very talkative, as was normally the case.


She was two months shy of her 50th birthday, and that visit would be the last time I saw her alive. We received an urgent phone call the next morning and arrived at the hospital after she had already passed due to a pulmonary embolism.


That framed photograph has been on my wall for most of the 37 years since it brought a smile to my mom’s face. The key and twine I inserted under the glass are from a workshop entitled “Your Mother’s Pillow," the location from where the key to the wild man’s cage must be retrieved, from a fable in German folklore, as conveyed in Robert Bly’s classic, Iron John.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms in our world. I see that photograph almost every day, and it connects me to my mom and her smile. I hope that you have a similar touchstone in your life. It reminds me to maintain a sense of playfulness and joy as I strive daily to feel good, live simply and laugh more.