Friday, October 15, 2010

Don’t Ever Let Anyone In Who Looks Like Me!

It was great to see a photograph of artist Jacob Cooley on the front page of the Durham newspaper yesterday and it brought back some great memories and a humorous story.

Jacob’s mom, Gretchen along with Ann Gregory are the two board members who first interviewed me via a telephone call more than two decades ago for the job from which I retired last December. Instrumental in bringing me to Durham, where I still live, to jump-start DCVB as the community’s official marketing agency, Gretchen also served several terms as chair of the governing board.

Remaining a good friend, Gretchen volunteers to edit this blog.Jacob Cooley Painting

My first house here was in Old North Durham near downtown and Jacob, on his way to an MFA at UNC down in Chapel Hill volunteered one night to run over and let my late dog Jack out and feed him when I was trapped longer than expected at an engagement down in Pinehurst

Apparently I had transposed the numbers or the sequence for the house alarm and it went off on Jacob, sending the dog running out the door and instantly lighting up every house on Shawnee St. Cell phones were still uncommon then so with my landline tied up, Jacob ran down the street a few doors to 80+ year old Momma “D’s” to borrow a phone.

Jacob is very tall and was extremely thin and angular then with long, wild, very red hair. Momma “D” let him right in but once he finished getting the correct code and cancelling the arm, he took little Momma “D” by the shoulders and said:

“Mame, don’t ever let someone in your house who looks like me!”

She just chuckled telling me the story later because an organic part of Durham’s appeal is that it so “accepting” among many other traits, all part of why Durham is ranked so highly across such a wide range of measures.

Because of the alarm issue, Jacob then scooped up my dog and took him over to his mom’s house where Gretchen was hosting some dear old friends who were visiting from out of town that night. Jack took a look at her dogs, sniffed out the entire room and promptly peed right in the purse of one of the guests prompting waves of laughter that greeted me as I returned to pick him up.

Now that’s really “accepting!”

The image above by the way is a favorite painting of mine created by Jacob.

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