THE FLOWER – Art is in the eyes of the beholder. It is whatever you think it is.

I was asked if I would consider cooking for 8 to 10 hulking rugby boys and their parents at a friend’s house who was hosting the dinner. I of course said yes as it is always a pleasure cooking for my Son’s team mates and catching up with their parents.

So we spent the afternoon prepping and dicing and double frying an obscene amount of chicken drumsticks, pan frying sizzling steaks, amongst other things.

There is a formula for feeding growing rugby boys – you prepare an amount fit for a ravenous army and once you think it’s just about right …….you double it.

Everybody chipped in to help and by evening, we had this wonderful spread:

The evening started pleasantly enough. The parents sat in the hosts’ beautiful and cosy home and nursed fine wines and delectable whiskeys, chilling and catching up.

Then there was a slight rumble as the boys took a break from their computer and other social media devices and came downstairs to feed. They universally grunted their greetings to the parents, milled around like a swarm of locusts and disappeared upstairs with each of their plates piled as high as humanly possible.

I was surprised to see that the Toulouse sausage was largely untouched. Strange – I would have thought that would be the first to go as the boys are big meat eaters.

I got a text from Monster boy:

“Boys said the food is good ”

I asked him why no one took the Toulouse sausage. His reply was nonchalant and simplistic like it made all the sense in the world

“It’s in salad”

The parents had a good chuckle. Our theory was right. The boys didn’t touch it just because it was dressed with healthy greens like rocket salad and vine tomatoes.

Now you know. When it comes to teenager boys – skip the window dressing. Just show them the meat.

The parents then settled down with tasting portions of the dishes and the dining table was soon full of the sounds of warm camaraderie, peals of laughter and clinking glasses.

I was deep in conversation with the gracious lady host, who was a very good amateur artist, about her preferences for art and she told me she liked, and mostly painted abstract.

I grew up liking art and one of my ex girlfriends was seriously into Impressionism. So like the dutiful boyfriend wanting to please, I read copiously about impressionist artists. There was a point when I could identify the print of any piece of impressionist art at a distance and tell you who was the artist and the name of the painting.

So I was into Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Degas – the usual suspects.

I liked pointillism and George Seurat.

I progressed to liking surrealism – Salvador Dali and Magritte.

I absolutely loved the “persistence of memory” otherwise known as the melting clocks piece from Dali.

Was fascinated by “the Scream” by Edvard Munch.

Later on in life, I got into and collected water colour artists like Ong Kim Seng and contemporary Asian artists like Min Wae Aung.

And of course there is my favourite art piece in the world painted by my daughter Megan and gifted to me.

But I never understood or got into abstract.

Lady host told me she would like to give me an abstract piece she painted and I was grateful and honoured.

She disappeared upstairs briefly and came down with this piece.

My first reaction was the wavy lines looked a little surrealistic and dream like but clearly belonged in the abstract zone.

Those shapes and that pinkish hue – there was something familiar. Then it hit me – and I blushed and became tongue tied, which was quite a feat.

Ok take your head out of the gutter I told myself.  But it wasn’t just me – the mothers started chuckling and the men started to behave like boys, suggesting where I should put the painting (in my bedroom) and other highly helpful suggestions what I should do with it.

There was general consensus that the painting was what I absolutely needed, and that it would improve my well being and health. Heck it might even help me lose weight and fight off gout.

I asked lady host sheepishly what the image was. Her reply was “it’s whatever you think it is , I call it flower ” she replied with a twinkle in her eye. I remember that I mumbled something like ” oh we men call it Flower too, or Heavenly Gates, or Jade Palace or Precious Lotus…”. The mirth and merriment went on for a while.

Ok I’m very very grateful for the kind gift and I am truly honoured that she is giving me her artistic toil and hard work. And it is a nice piece. I appreciate it, I really do.

But where am I going to display it?

I can already picture the process.

“Ok kids sit down. I have never spoken to you guys about the birds and the bees and I think it’s time.

Yes Daryl you too even though you’re already married. Sorry for the delay.

“You see – first there is this thing called the flower …..”

And I have my kids’ friends over for dinner quite often. I can just see them looking at the picture, cocking their head and realisation then spreading in their eyes. Then the giggles will start.

So it has to be in the bedroom.

The only spot available in my bedroom is just above the TV in front of the bed.

Nope – I will watch no TV and get no sleep. Ever.

Hmm … maybe the perfect spot will be in Gavin’s bedroom?

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