Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for December, 2015

Wild Heart Brings Spirit Alive



Mindi at Opening

Mindi Yarbrough, artist Wild Heart, recently had her Opening Night at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville, WV.

Artists work in many different ways. Some paint exactly what they see, while others add a little imagination to their pictures. Mindi Yarbrough has an added element in her paintings. She captures the spirit of the person or animal. Mindi portrays herself as “a self taught and self described outsider artist.”

Mindi started drawing at the age of five. Her love of nature shines forth in everything she does. As a little girl, she enjoyed playing in the creek, where she would enjoy nature and catch snakes (and just about any other animal, insect or amphibian she could get her hands on).

“All kinds of snakes,” she explains, “but I was never afraid of them, despite being bitten many times, and often kept them as pets.” Snakes are Mindi’s power animal. She even has tattoos of them on her arms. Snakes have been associated with shamans. In fact in some cultures, snake bites are an initiation and pre-requisite into shamanism.

Mindi's The Crow Holds the KeyThe crow holds a special attraction to her as she feels it has a magical quality. It holds the magical key to the womb of fundamental energy where all possibilities exist. Crows live all around the world, reminding us that magic can be found everywhere. They often are associated with healing and the universal law.
Mindi's OwlOwl is Mindi’s dream-time guide helping to navigate the unconscious world.  The Owl serves as the keeper of ancient wisdom and can see the secrets and agendas of others. The Owl is a prophet who can see, hear, and feel events before they transpire. 
Mindi Dream CatchersHer dream catchers are up-cycled art with the center web being a doily, with a hand macrame hoop and fringe made with cotton twine and yarn. Dream catchers have been part of Native American culture for generations. They are usually hung by the bed at night to catch bad dreams before they disturb your sleep. There is a hole in the center to let the good dreams slip through.Mindi FeathersFeathers are important in the Native American tradition also, as they are seen as gifts from the sky, the sea and the trees. Often a feather has a message as it lands on or near someone. It reminds them of a spiritual connection that we all have to our creator and with passed loved ones. The gift of the feather is represented by passion – passion for your gift from the Creator – Mindi’s passion being artistic vision.Mindi's Bear Woman

This painting of Bear Woman makes me smile. It tells a great Blackfoot Legend of the older sister and her bear. Mindi has even added the end of that legend as she shows the star constellation of Ursa Major in the background. All of her work shows depth and meaning.

Mindi Christmas treeUpon leaving the art show, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree glowed in the hallway. The Mound Museum Christmas tree is decorated with plants that were important to those prehistoric Native Americans living in the area. The people who built Grave Creek Mound probably grew small gardens, which included squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, gourds, and goosefoot – the decorations on this tree.

It’s no surprise that Mindi works in the field of art on a daily basis. At present she is Art Director and Senior Graphic Designer at Beyond Marketing in Wheeling, WV. Her expertise lies in designing just what the customer desires.

Mindi has been drawing and painting since childhood. She smiles as she tells others, “I have never wanted to be anything other than an artist, except maybe a mermaid.” Mindi would definitely be a very special mermaid!



Angel in Disguise

If you had a hundred dollar bill back in 1964, how would you have spent it at Christmas time?

Of course, there are many possibilities. Parents would probably use it to buy presents for their children.

An Easy Bake Oven was a popular item for the girls, while the Mighty Tonka Dump Truck was desired by young boys. That Tonka appeared in the ads to be extra strong, as it didn’t even crush with an elephant stepping on it.

A teenage daughter might have liked a collection of the new fashion – mini skirts. Schools and churches strongly disapproved, but the teen age girls thought they were quite stylish. For the music lover, an 8-track tape player would have been an appreciated gift.

Or you could have purchased 2,000 first-class postage stamps, or 400 gallons of gasoline.

Dad and Pal 001However, “The Angel in Disguise” had a different idea. When he lost both parents as a young child, Rudy learned to appreciate the small things in life. He was the kind of man who would try to brighten up a child’s world by buying the youngster an ice cream cone.

Rudy didn’t have a lot, but whatever he had, he was willing to share. When a neighbor needed a ride to the doctor, Rudy gladly took him. His face usually wore a smile, and he enjoyed making others smile, too.

Then one day, Rudy found himself earning more money than he had ever earned before. In 1964, his take-home pay was over $200 a week. Feeling this rich was a new sensation. He decided to always carry a hundred dollar bill in his billfold, just in case it was needed for something.

One Saturday, right before Christmas, Rudy and his wife came into town. He had heard that the Salvation Army needed money to buy toys for local children. Walking past one of the Salvation Army Christmas kettles, he reached over and put in a hundred dollar bill. Then walked on, as if he had tossed in a dollar.

His wife knew what had transpired, and she smiled at him proudly.

On Monday, a small article in the Daily Jeffersonian bore the heading:

‘Angel In Disguise’ Gives $100

No one knew, but the two of them, until twenty year later their daughter, the writer of this story, discovered the newspaper clipping at her mother’s house dated 12-14-64. When she asked, mom told the story of the Angel in their family.

That clipping stays in a safe place at my home today as a reminder of the importance of giving, not only financially, but of ourselves during the Christmas season and all year long.

Be an Angel to someone today.

Dreams Do Come True

Dave received his first train in 1950.

Dave received his first train in 1950.

Ever since Dave Adair was a small child, he enjoyed trains. As a youngster, he frequently visited his Slavish grandfather, Dzeda, who lived near the train tracks in East Cambridge. Dzeda also worked in the Klondyke and Black Top coal mines in Guernsey County so he would tell Dave stories about the coal cars as they rolled by. It’s easy to see how Dave became interested in trains and coal mines.

Dave’s secret wish was that someday he would be able to have a caboose of his very own – a real one used on the train tracks.

Ellen, Dave's wife, started his collection with this caboose.

Ellen, Dave’s wife, started his collection with this caboose.

When Dave was about forty, his wife, Ellen, took a ride with him a couple weeks before Christmas. They stopped in Senecaville to look at a caboose that belonged to Herb Tipton and had been used on the B&O Railroad. When they arrived and looked over the caboose, Ellen said, “Merry Christmas!”

Dave couldn’t believe it and looking back on that day said, “It was the biggest shock of my life.” Of course, she told him it would be his Christmas and birthday present for years to come. Little did she know at the time that she was only starting a vast train collection that today fills their home’s yard.

This original chair from a B&O office holds two lanterns.

This original chair from a B&O office holds two railroad lanterns.

Over the years, Dave has narrowed his interest to Guernsey County trains and coal mining history. Almost everything in his collection came from Guernsey County. Every item and picture is special to him, but he doesn’t have any favorites. They are all part of history.

Dave built his own Depot and Museum in his back yard.

Dave built his own Depot and Museum in his back yard.

Since there wasn’t any place nearby that had room for his coal mine and train collection, Dave decided to build his own depot at his home and turned it into a museum. Nothing pleases him more than to sit down in his depot and tell stories about the coal mines and trains that were in Guernsey County long ago. But getting him to talk about himself was not an easy task.

Dave and his son, Alan, look over their large HO display.

Dave and his son, Alan, look over their large HO display.

Now that Dave is retired, most of his time is spent volunteering, while spreading the word about Guernsey County history. His slide shows have been popular attractions for years. He spends time volunteering at the Guernsey County Historical Society, Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, Coal Miners Museum in Byesville, and at various nursing homes, giving people a chance to tell their stories. He says, “It’s better to give than receive.”

Dave Adair tells coal miners' stories.

Dave Adair tells coal miners’ stories.

While he claims to be “an ordinary Joe”, the history he has collected makes him a special person even though to him it’s just a hobby. It’s a good thing to make people happy and that is what Dave does best as he shares his stories and makes people smile. Through it all, his main goal is to preserve the history of Guernsey County trains and coal mines.

Dave and his family, thirty people in all, recently went on a short vacation. Where do you think they went? They headed for the train tracks in West Virginia, where they rode the Tygart Flyer. He’s still living his dream.

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