America has loved “Grandma” Moses and her art from the moment we saw one of her joy-giving paintings. For “The Crazy for Loving You Birthday Party,” we’re at the Bennington Museum (75 Main Street, Bennington, Vermont) which holds the largest public collection in the world of paintings by Grandma Moses, the great 20th century folk artist who painted joyful scenes of rural life embodying a sense of an idyllic America.
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) started painting in her 70s and within years was one of America’s most famous and beloved artists. Moses spent most of her life in Eagle Bridge, New York, just 15 miles northwest of Bennington, Vermont.
In 1972, the Bennington Museum purchased the schoolhouse in which Moses studied as a child along with objects related to her life, including her early needlework, an 18th century tilt-top table she painted with landscapes and used as her painting table, art supplies, her paint-stained apron and a large collection of photographs and documents.
You feel the joy the minute we enter the Grandmas Moses gallery of the museum and Patsy Cline beckons us to a long farm table decorated with Vermont-grown plants and veggies set for our special guests at “The Crazy for Loving You Birthday Party.”
HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.)
PLEASE GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THESE JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK:
Sept. 4—BEYONCE’ (Beyonce’ Giselle Knowles-Carter) is a singer, songwriter and actress. The Houston, Texas native is one of the world’s bestselling recording artists, having sold 118 million records worldwide. She has won 28 Grammy Awards, 26 MTV Video Music Awards, 31 Black Entertainment Television Awards and 17 Soul Train Music Awards. In 2020, “Billboard Magazine,” ranked her as the highest-earning Black music-maker of all time.
Sept. 5—BOB NEWHART is a stand-up comedian and actor known for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery style. He came to fame in the 1960s with his album of comedic monologues, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” which is enduringly joy-giving. His two, major television shows involved the situation comedies of Newhart being a Chicago psychologist named Robert Hartley on “The Bob Newhart Show” and then as a Vermont innkeeper, Dick Loudon, on “Newhart.”
Sept. 6—JEFF FOXWORTHY is a comedian, actor, writer, producer, television personality, radio personality and author. The Atlantan is best known for his “you might be a redneck if…” one-liners. He is a member of “The Blue-Collar Comedy Tour” foursome with “Larry the Cable Guy,” Bill Engvall and Ron White. He starred in the sitcom, “The Jeff Foxworthy Show,” hosted the television quiz show, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and for three seasons, hosted, “The American Bible Challenge.”
Sept. 7—GRANDMA MOSES (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) was a late-blooming, folk artist who began painting at age 78. Her art has been shown in top galleries and museum worldwide. One painting, “Sugaring Off,” sold for $1.2 million in 2006. About her work, a “New York Times,” art critic wrote: “The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed simple life and rural countryside won her a wide following. She was able to capture the excitement of winter’s first snow, Thanksgiving preparations and the new, young green of oncoming spring.”
Sept. 8—PATSY CLINE was a singer. And, WHAT A SINGER! She is considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century and was one of the first country music stars to cross over to pop music. She first gained national recognition singing, “Walkin’ After Midnight” on “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.” Her “greatest hits album” sold over 10 million copies in 2005. Patsy Cline’s childhood home in Winchester, Virginia has been restored and opened as a museum in 2005 for visitors and fans to tour. Willie Nelson wrote Cline’s immortal hit, “Crazy (for Lovin’ You).”
Sept. 9—ADAM SANDLER is an actor, comedian and filmmaker. He was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1990 – 1995 before going on to star in many Hollywood films. His films have earned more than $2 billion at the box office. Sandler’s comedic films include “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Big Daddy,” “Mr. Deeds,” “50 First Dates,” “The Longest Yard,” “Click,” “Grown Ups,” “Just Go with It,” “Grown Ups 2,” “Blended,” “Murder Mystery” and “Hubie Halloween.” Many of his films have been critically panned but others, like “Punch Drunk Love” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” garner high praise.
Sept. 10—ARNOLD PALMER was a professional golfer widely regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic in the sport’s history. His humble background and plain-spoken popularity helped change the perception of the sport from an elitist, upper-class pastime of private clubs to a more populist sport accessible to all on public courses. Palmer was one of the originals first inducted into the “World Golf Hall of Fame.”
COMMENTS OVERHEARD AT “THE CRAZY FOR LOVING YOU BIRTHDAY PARTY:”
“I’m a workaholic and I don’t believe in ‘NO.’ If I’m not sleeping, nobody’s sleeping.”—Beyonce’
“There’s gratification in making somebody laugh. It’s a wonderful sound.”—Bob Newhart
“If your mother doesn’t remove the Marlboro from her lips before telling the State Trooper to kiss her ass, you might be a redneck.”—Jeff Foxworthy
“I look back on my life like a good day’s work. It was done and I am satisfied with it.”—Grandma Moses
“If you can’t do it with feeling—don’t.”—Patsy Cline
“It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re surrounded with turkeys.”—Adam Sandler
“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.”—Arnold Palmer
“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”—Beyonce’
“All comedians are anarchists. Our job is to make fun of the existing world.”—Bob Newhart
“Watching a baby being born is like watching a wet St. Bernard coming through the cat door.”—Jeff Foxworthy
“People should take time to be happy.”—Grandma Moses
“I recorded a song called, ‘I Fall to Pieces” and was in a serious car wreck. Now, I’m worried because I have a brand-new record and it’s called, ‘Crazy.’”—Patsy Cline
“I finished a big book the other day—421 pages. That’s a lot of coloring when you think about it.”—Adam Sandler
“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.”—Arnold Palmer
“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”—Beyonce’
“My stammer got me a home in Beverly Hills, and I’m not about to screw with it now.”—Bob Newhart
“You might be a redneck if you missed 5th grade graduation because you had jury duty.”—Jeff Foxworthy
“If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.”—Grandma Moses
“It’s important I surround myself with people who make me happy.”—Adam Sandler
“Hit it hard, go find it and hit it hard again.”—Arnold Palmer
“Never let success go to your head. Never let failure go to your heart.”—Beyonce’
“But I really believe that if you have the ability, there is an obligation to make people laugh.”—Bob Newhart
“I hope someday we can stamp out illiteracy in America. Of course, you’ll have to kill a lot of my relatives to do it.”—Jeff Foxworthy
“I would never sit back in a rocking chair waiting for someone to help me.”—Grandma Moses
“I never wanted to get rich—just live good.”—Patsy Cline
“Give yourself time to figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.”—Adam Sandler
“What others may find in poetry or art museums; I find in the flight of a good drive.”—Arnold Palmer
“The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence.”—Beyonce’
“I wish I could relate to people I’m related to.”—Jeff Foxworthy
“Hanukkah is…the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents, we get eight, CRAZY nights.”—Adam Sandler
“You must play boldly to win.”—Arnold Palmer
THE MENU FOR “THE CRAZY FOR LOVING YOU BIRTHDAY PARTY:”
APPETIZER—Jeff Foxworthy Redneck Sausage Dip (yummly.com)
SALAD—Bob Newhart Food Psychologist Pepper and Goat Cheese Salad (thefoodpsychologist.com)
ENTRÉE—Grandma Moses Turkey in the Straw Noodles (cooks.com)
SIDE DISH—Beyonce’ Beer-Battered Put-A-Ring-On-It Onions (allrecipes.com)
BREAD—Patsy Cline Crazy Bread (allrecipes.com)
BEVERAGE—The Famous Arnold Palmer Half-Tea and Half-Lemonade Drink (see below)
DESSERT—Adam Sandler 50 First Dates Cake (mybakingaddiction.com)
ONE TO GROW ON—Picture puzzles have been hugely popular during the “COVID lockdowns” and one with a painting by Grandma Moses could be so sweetly engaging. Try Amazon for “Grandma Moses puzzles,” as simple as 35 pieces and as intricate as 1000 pieces. My personal, joy-giving favorite is “A Beautiful World.”
Grandma Moses thanked all for coming to the Bennington Museum and her eponymous gallery space. Her toast to the group was, “Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”
Before Beyonce’ joined her for a memorable duet, Patsy Cline offered this toast to the revelers— “Here’s to those who wish us well and those who don’t can go to Hell!”
Then, two of the greatest, American joy-giving songbirds ever, sang these lyrics, proving that sometimes it’s the swooning memories of the trials of love that are the most beautiful:
Crazy for feeling so lonely.
Crazy for feeling so blue.
I knew that you’d love me as long as you wanted
And the someday, you’d leave me for somebody new.
Why do I let myself worry?
What in the world did I do?
I’m crazy for thinking that my love could hold you.
I’m crazy for trying
And, crazy for crying,
And, I’m crazy for loving you.”
THE FAMOUS ARNOLD PALMER HALF-TEA and HALF-LEMONADE DRINK
5 fluid ounces prepared lemonade
5 fluid ounces prepared iced tea
1 cup ice
Fill a tumbler with ice and pour the tea and the lemonade. Stir. Sip. Slake.