Saturday, March 08, 2008

I think I may need to take a trip to Houston to visit the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. I loved loved loved the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore (thanks again for the tip, Romalyn!), plus the Orange Show is an homage to fruit--the orange, to be exact. Here's the info:
The Orange Show is a folk-art environment - a monumental work of handmade architecture - in Houston's east end. It was built single handedly from 1956 until its completion in 1979, by the late Jefferson Davis McKissack, Houston postal worker. The outdoor 3,000 square foot monument is maze like in design and includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks. It is constructed of concrete, brick, steel and found objects including gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats and statuettes.

Jeff McKissack's creation extols the virtues of his favorite fruit and encourages visitors of all ages to follow his theories relating health and longevity to good nutrition, hard work and eating oranges. The Orange Show is one of the most important folk art environments in the United States.
Very cool, yes?

This morning, I went to the farmers market in the Sears parking lot and an older Italian gentleman at one of the stands waved me over. "Would you like a sample?" he whispered conspiratorially, then handed me a juicy wedge of orange. "You like?" he asked and I nodded, even though I had just brushed my teeth and it made the orange taste bitter. He held out a whole orange and looked around surreptitiously. "Take this," he said. "Take it before anyone sees me give you one for free." I slipped it into my bag next to the beautiful green lettuce and felt I had been given a real treasure. I didn't buy any oranges from him, but I did buy half a pound of my benefactor's dried jujubes (the fruit, not the candy. They're supposedly good for the stomach and can be boiled for tea. I like their strange, spongy, dusty texture.)

I find myself hungry for oranges now; I'm glad I still have that sweetly gifted one (and didn't just brush my teeth)!

1 comment:

Cati Porter said...


How fun. I'd love a conspiratorially passed orange!

Thanks for having me on Tuesday. It was great to come in and read my orange-and-apple-inspired poems to your class.

It's been kind of a crazy week since then, so I'll have to catch up on our Scrabble game later. Meanwhile, I have one sick child home today and company coming for the weekend day after tomorrow -- and a laundry list of things to do that stretches to my elbow!

Oh, the joys of domesticity!