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Welcome Home

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

As I chatted with Karen Glines at the Ste. Genevieve Interpretive Center back in December, my eyes were drawn to Billyo’s colorful renderings in the Painting Missouri book on the table between us. Having just moved back to Missouri after a 20-year absence, and having just joined the Art Guild in town, I found the images irresistible. Being also interested in genealogy, Karen’s writing added significantly to my desire to own the book. My hand stopped at the Butler County image. My mouth dropped. A pilgrimage to the Margaret Harwell Art Museum had begun over a year ago when I began researching some of my Dalton ancestors. Here in beautiful color, just the way it looked on my visit only four weeks prior, was the ancestral home of James L. Dalton, innovator and manufacturer of the Dalton Adding Machine between 1904 and his death in 1926. He had been a very successful businessman and major employer in Poplar Bluff. The Art Museum was having a show there that Sunday, and I was thrilled to finally be standing in the place I had only read about. To find that it had inspired another artist of such acclaim as Billyo extended the sense of pride and belonging I felt. Karen inscribed my copy of Painting Missouri with a most appropriate “Welcome Home.” Finding connections like these makes me so glad to be back.

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