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A Picture to Remember
Mr. Livingston sat on one of the cold stone slabs that passed for benches here
in the Parnassus Gallery. He wondered which of the paintings he should buy if
he had the money that is. Looking long and hard at each of them and carefully
noting the price, he decided on the small one that had been hung above a larger
one. It was a painting of three people standing in a village square.
Yes, that would do nicely. He knew just where he would hang it when he got it
home. Just above his kitchen table, between the refrigerator and the gas stove.
He could look at it in the evening when he ate his dinner. Many people would
prefer to have their meals at the television set, but not Mr. Livingston. No. As
he ate his dinner straight from the microwave he could look at this pleasant
picture and imagine himself standing with the three people in the village
The square looked familiar to him. In Italy perhaps. He remembered being in a
square like that in Siena, a mountain village in Northern Italy a long time ago.
He was with the 14th Field Artillery then, working its way north after taking
Rome without a shot being fired. His crew were with him that day and they were
looking for a place to set up their 105. The square overlooked the valley below
and they would have a commanding view of the Nazi Panzer Divisions trying to
He loved pictures that reminded him of places hed been happier days. His one
room efficiency apartment was filled with pictures like this one. Each of them
brought back a lifetime of memories. Without them he would be a poor man poor
in spirit, and forced to read his paper, listen to his radio or watch his
The longer he looked at this picture here in the Parnassus Gallery, the more he
liked it. It would bring him much joy ... why even here his mind was overflowing
with memories of that day in Siena. Imagine how wonderful it would be to live
with this picture and see it every day.
He rose stiffly from the cold hard bench and walked to the picture on the wall.
The price was clearly marked in ink on a small white card. $1750 it said. What
would happen, he thought, if he scraped together every penny he had in the
world, all his worldly possessions, even his radio and television set and laid
them on the desk of the curator of the Parnassus Gallery? Did people buy
paintings that way? Probably not. They would write a check perhaps. A promissory
note. A credit card. He had none of these things. All he had was his life.
But he would offer that for this one picture.
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