My dad was career Air Force, so growing up this was all I knew. In 1959, we had lived five years in Dover, Delaware when he came home one day and said it was time for his transfer. By then, I was old enough to get excited about that word. He said, “We will be moving either to Panama City, Panama or Fairbanks, Alaska.” With 4 children within 6 years in age, Mom said, “If we go to Panama City, we can have a maid!” As children, the oldest barely 12, we were not very excited about the possibility of moving to Alaska because we had just studied about it in school. We didn’t quite know how to take the fact that we would be living in an igloo, or so we thought. But we knew we would be with Dad and Mom. They would protect us from the polar bears and keep us warm. That’s all that mattered to us.

I have painted many pictures from memory and photographs of that time as a young person in Alaska, as well as the trip up the Alaska-Canada 'Alcan' Highway. Mom loved taking pictures with her little black and white box camera. I found some pictures she took as we traveled those weeks up that long road to the wilderness state. "Peace River Valley" in British Columbia Province, Canada, this 20" x 24" (55.88 x 60.96 cm) oil painting on canvas is the result of that distinct memory. I had never seen anything so beautiful, an overwhelming scene. The only reference was that small tattered snapshot taken by my Mom. I remember there was a tree growing out of the rock and hanging over the rim of the canyon. I decided to focus on the river. There is no way to capture what I saw that day, but just looking at the painting brings back many memories.

It was a quiet day at KK’s Corner Mall, where I had a studio for a year in Lubbock, Texas. One day a lady came in and said she just wanted to look. When she saw "Peace River Valley", she asked questions and we had a nice visit. She stayed quite a while and I could tell she really liked the painting. She didn’t have the full price, but when the visit was over, she walked away very happy to have the painting to enjoy. I was happy to have another opportunity to share ‘The Gift’.