Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sharing what I have

{If you respond to the work I do here at Apifera-both with animals and sharing them with people-please consider donating to our barn project. The barn will not only house animals, it will provide a place for me to have one-on-one encounters year round like the one I had with Betty.}

Her name was Betty, and on her wrist she wore her late husband's watch. She also had on the same wedding dress she wore to marry him some 30 years earlier. Betty was in her eighties and had recently gotten out of the hospital-so the loose fitting, Mexican style white dress was roomy and more comfortable for her on this particularly hot summer day.

Betty had come to one of our Pino Pie Days, driven there by her caregiver, who was also her daughter. We sat in the shade, and communed for some time, initially with silence as Betty petted Pino, and smiled as if she had been reacquainted with something deeply familiar. The quietness of the moment must have brought up memories, because Betty began sharing stories with me. She had lost her husband only nine months earlier, and a tear came to her eye. I told her about losing my father not long ago too, and then I got teary eyed–but our mutual losses of men we had loved for so long was our most common denominator for that moment.

"Many years ago, when I was much younger than you," she began, "my husband took me on a long, exotic journey to Egypt. We travelled in the desert and it was beautiful, and strange too. But that was where I saw my first donkey. It was a long time ago and there is a lot I don't remember, but I remember that donkey, and I remember how drawn I was to him. I never got him. So I wanted to come meet yours."

She went on to tell me, as Pino stood patiently, still, at her side, how much that trip had meant hoer back then, because her husband had worked hard to make it happen.

"He was like that, he was giving," she said. "That's why I wanted to come pet your donkey, it reminds me of that moment I had back then."

So there we were, one elder woman and two fatherless daughters, sitting around a little donkey, each sharing moments that stung, but that also brought love out in the open, and made us feel better.