Glaze of Our Lives: A  Story of Passion and Reduction

Johnny Cash the pottery cat takes a nap on a few mugs. Delores finds a date maybe.


After  Johnny Cash blew by Jimmy’s leg in his mad dash out the studio door into the great wide open, he  ran to the large oak tree by the fence and  sniffed around some then  laid down to relax in the grass. The sparrows were  darting in and out  between the branches and  a red wing black bird  squacked to scold him. 

It was quite easy being a pottery cat. Johnny Cash had Delores right where he wanted her.  Their history went way back. Johnny Cash was a gift to Delores  from her husband Bill  when he was just a kitten.  Bill  just finished  trimming with the weed Wacker  along the side walk when he thought he heard a fait  meow.  Bill turned off the loud motor  and walked  to the  curb  where the trash was set out.  He  set down the wacker picked up the bag of garbage and under it was the smallest black kitten he ever seen.

Bill took the cat to the house to show Delores.  She was smitten by the cute  little fur ball. The kitten looked starved so they pored it some warm milk . The little guy lapped  up the milk and was still for a long time .   Bill and Delores were worried  and  poked the  cat a little and  made sure he was breathing.  “Awww!” said Delores ” I think he is sleeping right there in  his milk.”   All of this happend five months and  six days  after they found the lump  on Bill’s neck.  Five months and six days  because that is how fast the cancer spread .

The doctors tried everything possible but  the lump was found to late.  It was Johnny Cash the pottery cat that would curl up on the  lap of the slowly dying man ,  both warmed by an electric  blanket to ward off  the chills. Delores  sat by and cared for them both , lightly stroking Johnny Cash’s soft black fur to ease anziety as she  did what she could to make her dying husband comfortable  until the bitter end. 

The undertaker  drove  the herse slowly  to the cemetery on that cold rainy  day in October  when they laid Bill in the grave.  It would be months before  Delores  felt like going back to the studio again. Everything she seen reminded her of  Bill. He built the  drying shelves, her kneading table,  even put  in the glaze booth. Cobwebs grew in  her throwing bucket and rack of mugs went bone dry without being handled.

By Spring  Delores thought  she might try to go back down to the pottery studio to just have a look with Johnny  Cash  the cat circling  underfoot.  Delores started making pots again  slowly. First only one mug  was all she could  take . She looked at  the  lonely form turning slowly on her wheel , her heart sank with grief  and tears streamed from her eyes. She just had to make another mug, Bill would want her to. Before long one mug turned into one wearboard  of mugs, which turned into one shelf. She found creating therapeutic. 

Back out in the yard under the tree  Johnny Cash thought he heard a truck pull in. He raced to the frount steps  and found it was the UPS delivery man. The sound of the UPS delivery man ment that Johnny Cash would get face and belly rubs and at times a treat .  By time  the black cat  made it to the steps Delores was already signing for  her package.  “Aww whose a good boy?” said the  short stout delivery man as he seen Johnny Cash trot  through his legs purring.


Johnny Cash  made sure he did some cute rolls at his feet and was rewarded by belly rubs and face scratches. ” Your getting to be a big kitty!  I have a  surprise for you!” The  UPS man reached into his shirt pocket and gave Johnny Cash  three treats from a Frisyies bag.  ” He’s almost  twenty pounds now ” said Delores.  “But he still manages to climb all over and knock things off shelves. He’s a big clumsy boy.  Aren’t you Mr. Cash?”  The delivery man laughed “He sure is a just  big  fluff ball! Well I need to run! Have a great day ! ” He turned and walked back to his truck.  A small piece of paper floated across the lawn and Johnny Cash  seen the movement and playfully pinned it down with his paw then sat on it.  ” What are you hiding Mr. Cash?” said Delores as she picked  up the large cat.
 

Johnny Cash hung over Delores ‘s arm like a large over stuffed purse while she  opened  and read the paper.

” Dear Delores,

I  would find it enjoyable if at some  time you would join me for a coffee. I know you have been though a lot but whenever you are  ready just let me know. ”

It was not signed anywhere. Delores flipped the paper over  to see if  there was a name or number on the back.  But it was just written on a sales receipt from the gas station. Whoever wrote the note also bought $50.00 worth of gas and a  soda. Johnny  Cash started to growl  and  scratch at  Delores’s arm with his hind legs as a signal  to be let down. She dropped him to the ground as she thought about the note. ” Hummm..I wonder if…”  Delores  said out loud as she folded up the paper and put it in her pocket.

Johnny Cash  had already ran back  inside to the studio and made a jump for the fourth drying rack up but missed mostly and hung on by his two front paws. Straining  but  determined  the large cat found footing on a  freshly made wet  vase to give him a lift , knocking it into 3 others  as they all plopped  to the floor bats and all.  Pleased with himself he then stretched out on  six of eighteen  mugs that all caved to his form under the weight  like a memory foam mattress.  It seemed he preferred the pots just before leather hard stage, but not wet.

“Johnny Cash! You get down! Bad kitty! ” Delores  yelled when she seen him reclining  with ease  up on the shelf on the pots now all mangled and dented into a somewhat cat form. ” Why do you have to be so bad! Those were custom orders! Scat!” She yelled. It was almost a game to Mr. Cash as no matter how mad Delores got he always seemed to land on his feet with her. He  jumped from the shelf  as if inconvenienced,  and lumbered away with his tail in the air.  “Ohhh noo…your such a bad kitty! That was alot of work you just messed up! Now get!” Delores begain to pick up the mess. But in the back of her mind she wonderd about the note . Maybe it was time to get a coffee.

Delores accidentally flashes her new apprentice. The beautiful Janice is lonely.

 

Delores hit the dismiss button on her phone when the alarm woke her at 7:00 am. She wanted to get an early start to the day. She sat up on the edge of her bed and slid on her bright green crocks. The sun was already up and the rays were shining though the curtains as she walked into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee. Delores looked through the cupboard, then went to the dishwasher and pulled a mug from the top rack. There was a slight crack in the bottom like every mug she owned, almost. While she waited for the coffee maker to drip out she turned the mug over and looked at the glaze. “This came out quite nice” she said to herself, ” I have to make another run of these at some point. ” She poured herself a coffee and then sat at the kitchen table. Her black cat Johnny Cash purred against her chair and gave her leg a slight headbutt. “Awww your a sweet boy Mr. Cash” Delores scratch is ears and rubbed his face.

Delores reached for her journal and planner she kept on the table, next to the sugar jar and a cup of spoons. The planner set was a gift from her mother , who thought she needed to be more organized. Delores flipped to a new crisp page and wrote in the date. Under Three Primary Tasks she wrote “throw three wear boards of mugs.” That would be the primary tasks. “Simple enough.” She thought. For Secondary Tasks, she wrote. “Dust and clean the shop.” The next heading on the page was “Things I get to enjoy” Delores wrote in “Weed and water garden” and for the section ” If I was living a second time” Delores had to think a some as she had plenty of regrets and she was not sure what she should put down. She smirked and wrote in ‘Merry a doctor.” Pleased with herself at the joke she gave a slight laugh and closed the planner. It was at that point she felt a scratch and slight nip on her leg which startled her and made her jump. Coffee spilled all down the front of her t-shirt and on to her shorts. “Johnny Cash be a good boy please!” She yelled. The black cat ran out from under the table with its tail held high as if he was pleased with himself for causing a ruckus. “Well I better get dressed.” Delores said to herself out loud.

Delores was putting her last leg in her jeans when she heard a faint knock on the door to her pottery shop downstairs. “No..no.no! ” She said to herself. She tossed on her shirt and closed up three buttons with time no for the forth. “No..no.nooo!” She slipped into her crocks and raced downstairs through her clay studio and into the pottery shop. “ohh.. noo.. ohh..noo! I totally forgot.!” She took a split second to compose herself the best she could. She gathered up her long black hair and flipped it back over then under to ponytail it in place, took a deep breath, then answered the door. “Are you d..d..d..d..Delores m..m..m..Mitchell?” Stuttered the tall skinny young man at the door.

He seemed shy and nervous. He held out his hand that was shaking a little. ” I’m ja..ja… Jimmy ma..ma Martin ..I’m here from Smithfield University and my professor said you asked for help at your pottery and that I wa..wa.. would be working with you through the work sta..sta..study program.. this is right place. Right? ” Delores lightly shook Jimmy’s cold clammy hand “Yes ! This is the right place Jimmy ! Pleased to meet you. I thought you were starting next week Monday but here you are!” “Yes ma’am! Sa..sa..saa..Sorry Ms. Mitchell I studder some when I get nervous..” said Jimmy. Delores smiled to set him at ease ” That’s fine Jimmy come on in and have a seat.

Jimmy brush his brown shaggy hair from his eyes and pushed up his glasses. Just then, the big black cat Mr. Cash made a run between Delores’s legs and raced out the open door. Jimmy tried to block the path with his long leg but the cat was having none of it. “Johnny Cash!!! You get back here!” Yelled Delores. “Ohh noo s..s..s..sorry about that.” Jimmy said as he regained his balance. “No bother Jimmy, I try to keep him in but he always seems to be on the wrong side of every door. ”

 

 

Jimmy followed Delores through the shop and into the studio. Delores pushed Jimmy a chair from behind her trimming wheel and he stopped it with this foot and sat down. Delores wheeled over another chair to have an onboarding chat with her new apprentice that came a week early. Jimmy’s face was red and he looked down to avoid eye contact. It was almost like he was embarrassed about something. “It sure is na..na nice out today.” said Jimmy looking at the floor. ” Your place was easy to fa..fa,, find. I drove right here.”

It was then Delores realized she needed her planner that was upstairs on the kitchen table. “Jimmy can you wait here one moment I need to run upstairs. I’ll be right back.” Delores raced back upstairs to the kitchen. As she made her way back to the studio downstairs she caught a glimpse of herself in the full length mirror on the door . “Ohhh nooo.” Delores groaned. Only having three buttons closed left her shirt open on top exposing all who cared to look at her cleavage and more. While hurrying to get dressed she skipped putting on her sports bra and simply threw a shirt on over her white coffee stained low cut tank top Delores quickly buttoned up and rushed down the stairs. About half way she felt her phone vibrate a call.

“Hello? Hello..can you hear me? Hello?” said an elderly women’s voice. “Delores dear this is your mother.” Delores gave a sigh “Ohh hi mom ..Ummm I’m in the middle of something right now can I call you back?” It was like her mother didn’t hear her. She continued. ‘Your father and I were at the farmer’s market and we picked you up some nice tomatoes. We’ll be there in 20 minutes dear.” “But mom I’m busy today.” Delores whined. ” Now we won’t stay long I promise. We love you sweety and we will see you in a bit.” said her mother.

Delores didn’t hang up. She knew her mother had a hard time finishing a call on cell and Delores would stay on the line to find out what her mother really thought about a situation from the hot mic effect. “I don’t know why she stays there by herself. If she had a real job I think she would be much happier.” said mother “Ooh Helen leave her alone! ” said her father. “I think she is getting along fine since David passed and you should mind your own business.” ” I know but I just worry about her. It’s a wonder she don’t starve to death. ” said mother before the phone clicked off. “Well at least they try to care .” Delores thought.

Janice was at the shop door bright and early today. She wanted to stop by the pottery to see how the custom order was going for her daughter’s wedding. She had ordered two-hundred candle cups as guest gifts in sea foam green, more green then blue , to be exact, if possible. Her outfit was spectacular for a Friday morning.

The theme was Sunflowers. Janice was dressed in a tight white pencil skirt and fitted top with sunflowers, topped off with a large hat to match. Around the hat was a band of ribbon with sunflower print. White tights and white heels completed the outfit. Janice tilted her large brown sunglasses so she could read the hours on the sign that was on the shop door. It was 20 minutes until the pottery opened. She took off her sunglasses and shielded her eyes to look through the window. She could make out a slim tall man sitting in the studio nervously bouncing his leg. Janice tapped on the glass with her white fingernails. “Hello..anyone there?

Jimmy looked out into the shop when the tapping started. He seen a slim middle-aged woman with red lipstick and sunflower blouse tapping on the door. He got up from his chair, debating on if he should let the well-dressed women in. He didn’t work there yet and was not sure of the hours. He was not sure when Delores would be back. Maybe she lost her planner or something? It sure was taking a long time. The lady at the door was now cupping her hand up against the glass so she could see in. Jimmy paced back and forth a bit not sure what to do. She was now tapping on the glass calling to him.

Maybe he should just sit in another chair and hide? No, that would be quite silly! Just make a decision!” he scolded himself. “What could possibly happen to him if he let that lady in.” He paced faster back and forth, and he could feel his hands getting sweaty. “Well the last time I let someone in it was ok. The UPS women…I had to sign for a package..that went off without a hitch and the world didn’t end. ” Once the decision was agreed upon Jimmy quickly went to the door opened it.

” Hello, my name is Janice, Janice Parker.” The beautiful middle-aged women held out her hand. Jimmy could see at the tips of those white nails were miniature sunflowers that matched the miniature sunflower earrings. The small ankle straps of the white heels also had miniature sunflowers, all of which matched her sunflower purse. He lightly shook Janice’s hand, and she followed him back though the shop and into the studio. Jimmy offered Janice the chair he was sitting in and moved to the other. “This chair is dusty, and I am on my way to a luncheon at the winery with a few of my friends. My dear, do you happen to have a towel or covering I could sit on while I wait. I would hate to get on dust me.” Jimmy looked around and was able to find a clean apron that he draped over the chair for Janice and her sunflowers. The two of them sat quietly waiting for Delores to return like it was a waiting room in a doctor’s office.

Delores was back after ten minutes of awkward silence between Janice and Jimmy. Jimmy had a bead of sweat on his forehead and had anxiety over what he might say. “I’ll be with you shortly, Jimmy.” said Delores. ” Janice, follow me to the back I have about 100 more cups out of the kiln for you to see, and I know you will love them. I have just 25 more to fire out to complete the order. You should have them all 2 month in advance.” Janice followed Delores to the backroom where work from the kilns were unloaded and put on shelves. “These look beautiful Delores! Thanks so much! My little girl is all grown up and she met the most wonderful man and I just want everything to be as perfect as I can get it for her wedding. I already ordered all the flowers, and these little cups on the tables will be the cutest thing for guests to take home.”

Thank you Janice, that is so nice of you to say. I am so glad you like them and I do hope they help make the day special for your daughter and you.” said Delores warmly. Large tears welled up in Janice’s eyes, she pulled a tissue from her sunflower purse and dabbed the corners to stop the large drops from ruining her eyeshadow. “I’m..I’m.. just so lonely out there in that big house..I..I..mean it’s a nice house and I’m not complaining. but..but..I think… I think..I think… my husband Bill hates me!”

Janice was now crying uncontrollably, and Delores gave her a hug and rubbed her back. “I think he might just be busy with everything that’s happening. With medical staff short I’m sure doctors are feeling the pressure.” Janice now had tears of eye shadow running down her face. ” It’s just…It’s just that… in the last two months, he has barely even talked or looked at me.” Janice sobbed. Delores tried to be supportive as she could, “I’m sure everything will be fine and after the wedding, you will both have more time to be together. Let’s go to the shop so you can use the restroom to freshen up a bit. You would not want everyone to see you like this even driving. They would gossip for sure.”

Janice and Delores walked back though the studio and into she shop. As they both passed, Jimmy thought he might have seen Janice wink at him. Now he was not sure but she must have winked because no woman has ever winked at him before, if they did he would have remembered…but yeah that was a wink for sure. Jimmy sat nervous, bouncing his leg while Delores seen Janice out. Jimmy tried to tell himself it was all imagined, or that maybe it was an accident. But if all of that were true, why did it bother him so much?

Written By,
Al Wayman
Artist/Owner
Creek Road Pottery LLC

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