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June 30, 2020 By Rosanne Kaufmann

Web Thoughts

I laid my book down in my lap and breathed in the fresh November air. It was warm enough to sit on the patio for the last remaining balmy autumn days. Sigh. A lacy spider web caught the slanted sunlight and glistened, its delicacy belying its strength. Its beauty enraptures me. Stretching between two rails of the patio fence, the web was spun in an intricate woven pattern. What a work of art!

With my book resting on my lap, another book comes to mind, “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White and beautifully illustrated by Garth Williams. It weaves a story of love, friendship, and patterns in life. Mr. Williams’ long, brilliant career in art illustration is very dear to me. I love to look at his books.

I continue pondering: a web, lace, and femininity. Arsenic and Old Lace, the 1944 movie that is about two old maid sisters, dear, sweet, and gentle, poisoning their men lodgers caught in their web captures my thoughts. Cary Grant’s antics and facial expressions were so comical, I find myself laughing as I recall them.

Web, Webb … ah! I remember Jack Webb, star of the 1950s TV series, Dragnet. Dum de dum dum, da! “Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is the city, Los Angeles, California. I work here. I’m a cop. My name is Friday.” I visualize Joe Friday’s straight-faced expressions and hear him saying in a flat voice, “Just the facts, ma’am.” People caught in the web of crime.

My mind wanders again in another direction to a more recent web, the worldwide web, a concept unheard of in the Dragnet time. Here is a web of information, YouTube videos, podcasts, biographies, and more than I can enumerate. I follow a few artists’ podcasts on my computer. They show their work, discus their methods, or talk about various art subjects. They spin their web all over the world, reaching artists in far-flung countries.

Of course, spiders make webs. And that reminds me of Halloween, which conjures up costumes and masks. Whenever I think of costumes and masks, I also include Mardi Gras. What artfully decorated masks, I’ve seen! When I lived in New Orleans, I created and made costumes for my children to wear to the Mardi Gras parades. I remember making a papier-mâché mask during my time in art school. I wonder what happened to it.

On this lovely, lazy afternoon of daydreaming of books I’ve read, movies, TV shows, and podcasts I’ve seen, and costumes and masks I’ve made, I realize it all seems to be summed up in art-related subjects. A web of creativity! I love it!

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