A couple of years ago, my father gave my mother this $500 picture of a tiger in the bayou. The print was done by Louisiana artist George Rodrigue, who is known for his Blue Dog paintings. Proceeds from the sale of these limited edition prints went toward building a new, grand habitat for LSU’s mascot Mike The Tiger.
But I really don’t believe my father bought this print so Mike could have a new place to stay.
I think he did it to turn back time.
Though the adult in you may understand why your parents aren’t together, the child in you wants them to be in love and inseparable for all time. The child in me believes that if my father could turn back time at all, he’d turn it back to the moment my mother walked toward him for the very first time on the campus of LSU, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, the woman he fell in love with on the spot, his soon-to-be best friend and football game seatmate.
The child in me believes this picture is his way of saying at the end of his life “I wish I could have this moment back, that I could have done what came next a hell of a lot better.”
Instead, he says he gave her this picture “because I just felt like it.”
Leave it to my father to “just feel” like spending $500 on his ex-wife in the last years of his life. Leave it to my mother to make sure this print from her ex-husband was lavishly matted and framed. Leave it to me to conclude that a tiger painted by a man known for blue dogs brought my parents a little bit closer and, in some strange way, showed they love each other more than they’re willing to admit.