With wheels humming beneath us, we have already put nearly 5,000 miles and the first 2 shows of 2016 under our belts. And it is still only February. What an exhilarating way to begin the year!
True to form, the Dallas Safari Club Convention gave us a mighty jump-start to our engines. Eager to share my newest works, the record-breaking crowd of 51,000 attendees gave us ample opportunity. Our 19th year in this show, many of the DSC members have personally buoyed me to new heights. Unveiling five new pieces completed in the past year, a record for my time-intensive medium, left us all with something to talk about. Still re-living the highs of our 2015 safari through my work opened the doors for my collectors to share their own stories of Africa.
Quickly following on its heels, the Safari Club International Convention held in Las Vegas, had us zipping across the country with clear weather and happy hearts. While this show is smaller in attendance, it has an international preeminence in the world of hunting, guiding, and travel. You can imagine my timidity when showing my tightly rendered Pen & Ink artwork in the midst of the giants of the Wildlife Art world. It was reassuring to have my freshly completed Greater Kudu, “A Glance and Gone”, cause a stir from everyone coming into the booth.
Before heading for home, Chuck had a surprise in store for me. Over the years he has watched me yearn to take the turn toward the Grand Canyon as we made our annual trek to SCI, never with enough time for it. Instead, he booked a helicopter flight into the Canyon for us, with a champagne lunch on the Canyon floor. There are few places on earth that have matched the splendor and impact of Africa on me……this one does!
Reinvigorated, we turned the car East and headed for Austin, planning a short visit with special friends in Truth or Consequences, NM enroute. By chance, our visit once again coincided with the day the ladies of their local American Legion pack boxes for our troops deployed overseas. Gathering monthly, this small group of women (and a few spouses), has been recognized for packing and sending the largest number of boxes in our country. From new socks to cans of salsa (it is New Mexico after all), they have now packed and mailed a total of 8,240 boxes over the past 51 months. Letting our troops know their sacrifice is never forgotten by those of us back home, it was a privilege to work alongside these Patriots.