The Blogger’s Brother
The blogger’s family lived in Avon Park, Florida from 1966 to 1972 because the blogger’s father worked in the classification department of the prison there. The prison was not visible from the blogger’s family’s house, which was by a lake around which bald eagles made their nests and over which there were the most remarkable sunsets–particularly after summer storms. (Paintings of such scenes by the best of the African-American artists known as “The Highwaymen” scarcely exaggerate their brilliance.) As a boy, the blogger had a boat with a small outboard motor for exploring the flora and fauna of the lake and its shores.
One of the elderly inmates at the prison worked all year making toys (whirligigs and the like), furniture, birdhouses, … as Christmas presents for the children of the prison staff. The “rocking donkey” being ridden by the blogger’s brother in the image above was the handiwork of this inmate. Although the blogger and his brother did not know the crime for which the inmate was serving his sentence in Avon Park, they later learned that, many years before and in another state, he had murdered his wife.
Hieronymous Bosch, “Enfant au trotteur” (ca. 1500)
Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna