July 05,2011
G.B. AND THE RANGERS #4 - the end. - I promise!

G.B. finished giving us his tour of the park and headed for home. We had just turned south onto Route 64 from the East Rim Drive, when G.B. abruptly stopped the car in the middle of the road and told us to get out. Either the car was going to blow up, or he had spotted a "snattlerake," but instead he led us to the curbstones.

"Girls, while they was a-workin' on the curbstones, I came up here one day with a load a' rock, so's I could check on their progress, an' I saw they was doin' it all wrong. It wasn't enough to tell 'em how to do it, I had to SHOW the dang fools how to do it!"

As he spoke, vehicles began to stop. Tourists left their cars, campers, vans, and motor homes to gather around the man in khaki-coloured clothes and broad-brimmed cowboy hat, thinking he was connected to the Park Service. Instead of hearing a talk on the flora and fauna bordering the roadway, they received a lesson on curb-stone construction.

G.B. spoke with such colour and authority on the subject that he kept his audience captivated until he finished his spiel, at which time he took a few moments to pose with a Japanese gentleman, while the gentleman's wife took their picture. Then G.B. simply walked back to the car - with us in quick retreat, and drove away, leaving the crowd to deal with the park ranger approaching in his pickup truck with the flashing yellow light. Copyright held by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook


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July 04,2011
G.B. AND THE RANGERS blog 3 of 4

As we passed the cutoff for the East Rim Drive, G.B. pointed out curbstones which "he" supplied to the park, then he drove right past Mather Point and Yavapai Point lookouts, because he was "fixin'" to show us something.

G.B. stopped at the Visitor Centre - not to show us the exhibits, books, or Grand Canyon videos, not to get pamphlets or go to the bathroom - he wanted us to examine, in detail, the flagstone forecourt, the stone for which was also supplied by G.B. and the stone company.

Nana wanted to take Morgan down into Grand Canyon, so we strolled along the rim to the Bright Angel Trail, where they began a short descent. G.B. and I sat in the shade of a pinon pine to wait for them, and I gazed out across the Canyon. Its jagged opening into the ages was veiled in the soft lavender, blue and dusty pink hues of the noontime light, and I wondered if Canada geese momentarily interrupted their migration flights to frolic and soar in air currents boiling there.

"Y'ALL HAVE TO GO DOWN!" G.B. called out to a pair of doddering old tourists who were looking over the edge, "Even jes' a li'l ways. Y'all need to feel the true wonder of it, an' y'all can't do that up on top."

After a rest and lunch, G.B. sent Nana and Morgan into the Hopi House to shop.

"Y'all graze 'round in thar an' get y'all somethin', Morgan too. An' take y'all's time." he added.

We sat down on a bench, and after a few minutes G.B. grumbled, "How long can they stay in thar? What're they doin'? DAMMIT CHARLE . . . go get 'em. I got a lot to show 'em yet today, an' the day's near over!"

Nana and Morgan had left the Hopi House, and were in front of it, looking at the old dance platform. Nana was talking and gesticulating to Morgan, and I murmured to G.B., "She must be telling Morgan about the Indian dancers she saw there when she was little."

Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought for a moment, then said, "Y'all leave 'em be Charle - but don't let 'em disappear on ye." Copyright held by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook


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July 03,2011
G.B. AND THE RANGERS blog 2 of 4

While Nana and her young daughter Morgan were visiting us from Canada, G.B. decided to take us up to the Grand Canyon for a day's outing. When we reached the park entrance, Nana spotted a ranger inside the gatehouse and excitedly pointed him out to Morgan.

G.B. failed to discern the admiration in Nana's voice, and as soon as we paid the park fee and received our receipt, map and park newspaper, he began to mumble, "I hate them danged, pushy, Forest Service, government bloodsuckin' leeches so bad Charle, DAMMIT!"

Morgan and I turned as one to stare incredulously at him, while the ranger in his gatehouse politely pretended not to hear.

"G.B. are you talking about the park rangers? We love park rangers!" My voice was high and quivering in disbelief. I could not believe what I had just heard, and in front of Nana, Morgan and the ranger too.

G.B. seemed not to hear my question or my opinion and carried on with, "Parks, Forests an' Mines, it's all the same! Them ignorant, self assertive, bossy government devils stop me cuttin' new roads into quarries, I have to stand around an' listen to their goll-danged demands an' threats, an' then wait fer my Master to leave - so's I can finish cuttin' roads into my very own quarries! An' if a rock doodler leaves his cabin empty fer a little bit, they have it burned down faster'n a man can scrape gnats off a dead frog!" And off he drove. Copyright held by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook


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July 02,2011
G.B. AND THE RANGERS blog 1 of 4

Doesn't everyone love the men and women in khaki? NATIONAL PARK RANGERS AND NATIONAL FOREST RANGERS ARE MY HEROES. I DISCOVERED THEM MANY YEARS AGO. THEY WERE FRIENDLY, PEACEFUL, WELL-EDUCATED INDIVIDUALS WHO LOVED THE EARTH AND ALL ITS INHABITANTS. EVERY CREATURE WAS TREASURED BY RANGERS, AS WAS EVERY PLANT, ROCK AND BIT OF SOIL.

ONCE IN THE WEE HOURS OF NIGHT, I ROUSED MY THREE CHILDREN FROM THEIR SLEEP AND TOLD THEM "ADOLF" (THE CAR) WAS PACKED. THEN I ASKED IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO GET DRESSED AND GO TO THE GRAND CANYON. I DID NOT REALIZE AT THE TIME, THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST OF A SUCCESSION OF CAMPING TRIPS FROM CANADA TO EXPLORE THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST, ITS NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND MONUMENTS.

ON THESE TRIPS, WE WERE ESCORTED BY RANGERS ON TRAIL WALKS, DELIGHTED BY RANGERS AT THE NIGHTLY FIRESIDE TALKS AND WATCHED OVER BY RANGERS AS WE SLEPT IN THE CAMPGROUNDS.

WE OFTEN TRAVELED DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR, SO I ASSIGNED SEVERAL HOURS A DAY OF STUDY TIME TO THE CHILDREN. THOSE HOURS WERE SPENT WITH THE RANGERS, EITHER IN THE MUSEUMS OR AT THE VISITOR CENTRES. THEY TOOK NOTES WHILE THE RANGERS RELATED COLOURFUL DETAILS OF THE NATURAL AND GEOLOGICAL HISTORY AND OF THE PEOPLE WHO DWELT THERE.

WHEN THE DAY'S STUDIES WERE COMPLETE, LEE WOULD HEAD DOWN THE CANYON TRAILS, AND THE GIRLS WOULD CLAD THEMSELVES IN BELL ANKLETS AND CHICKEN FEATHER HEADDRESSES TO WATCH THE INDIAN DANCERS PERFORM IN FRONT OF HOPI HOUSE BY THE RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON. AFTER EACH PERFORMANCE, THE RANGERS WOULD EXPOUND ON WHAT THEY HAD JUST VIEWED.

THE RANGERS WERE OUR HEROES, AND FOR NANA, THE BABY OF THE FAMILY, THEY WERE MORE THAN THAT. SHE LOVED THE RANGERS. MY LITTLE TOMBOY, WITH HER LONG, BLONDE CURLS TOUSLED BY THE WIND, WOULD ESCAPE HER BROTHER AND SISTER TO CHASE, STOP AND SMILE UP AT EVERY RANGER WHO PASSED HER WAY.

WHEN MY CHILDREN WERE GROWN, I MET AND MARRIED G.B. MADISON, A WILD OLD OKIE BOY WHO WAS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PRODUCTION DIVISION OF WESTERN STATES STONE CO. IN ASH FORK, ARIZONA, THE "FLAGSTONE CAPITAL OF THE USA." (pop 500.) I PRESUMED G.B. WOULD SEE RANGERS AS I SAW THEM. BUT I WAS IN FOR A RUDE AWAKENING. Copyright held by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook


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July 02,2011
GRAND CANYON!

I PLAN TO BLOG A TALE PUBLISHED BY TRAVELERS' TALES GUIDES, "GRAND CANYON true stories of life below the rim." IT WAS WRITTEN BY NANA COOK AND ME. HOPE YOU WILL READ IT, SAVOUR THE BEAUTIFUL CANYON AND LAUGH WITH US. THE ENTIRE COLLECTION OF TALES WRITTEN BY MANY FINE AUTHORS INCLUDING EDWARD ABBEY, IS A DELIGHT TO READ, SO IF YOU PLAN TO VISIT GRAND CANYON, WATCH FOR THIS BOOK!

THOSE OF YOU WHO FOLLOWED MY BLOGG "G.B. AND THE STRANGE CANADIAN PAINTER LADY" KNOW I BREAK UP EACH TALE INTO SEGMENTS, DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH I WANT TO TYPE - AT THE MOMENT.


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Archives
For over forty years, painting related totally to the American Southwest. It was people of the dry hot desert, solid mesas, cacti, stone and canyons that made my heart leap.

When I realized I would never see the desert again, I began a search for something to paint. Nana suggested, B.C, vineyards and took me to Penticton where I did one painting. Nana and Gary then began to take me on Mystery tours of the island and always included a vineyard. But they all were so green! So many leaves so many trees - I don't do trees and I rarely use green - dont really like looking at green, but I got started on a duty series not an inspired series.

I guess it was July or early August when we were driving home from a winery visit. I was grousing about painting the Festive Flying Grape series when Gary said "Start another series, you can work on more than one at a time."

For some reason those words triggered the words "I could paint the Island artists!" Nana and Gary agreed and it was the topic of conversation all the way home

For a while I was afraid I wouldn't get volunteers to pose but it is rolling and each one offers something special to inspire me. And it is lovely to feel all I am doing was sparked by Gary and like all I do, supported by Nana.

April Update 2012 Sixteen fine artists, many of national repute, have posed for Artists of Vancouver Island and many are booked or promised. There will be no poses after June 30,2012. When I have painted all twenty-five I will turn my thought to . . . what next?