Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Birthday Surprise

Today is my husband's birthday. He is notoriously difficult to buy gifts for.
He seldom wants or needs anything, and I have learned that he often does not use things that I choose.
If he wants something, he gets it for himself.
But I had an idea this year.
He is retired from the Sierra Railroad.
Engine No. 38 was the biggest steam engine ever owned by the Sierra.
 He has had this George Mathis print for 53 years.
(We have written about George Mathis before here on the blog.
Please see Tina's post here to read some more about him.
You can also enter his name in the search box here on the blog, to see other posts where we have shown some of his work.)
This Sierra Railroad print is very special to my husband, as he purchased it on May 5th,1962 when it was being sold to the passengers on a special excursion train that weekend. That day marked the first time he had ever ridden on a Sierra RR train.
This was a VERY big deal for a boy who had loved trains ever since he could remember!
It cost $10 for the ticket (and extra for the print) and that may not sound like very much money - but for a kid?
 In 1962?
 It was.
No. 38 had been sold seven years before. It was actually Engine No. 28 which was leading the train for the excursion that day.
 Mr. Mathis' sketch was done from a photo taken by a gentleman named Glenn Beier.
 My husband knew Mr. Beier, and he also owns a framed copy of the very same photograph.
The print had been put into the frame you see below all those years ago, and it had no glass, and, therefore, no protection.
Unfortunately, because of that fact, it had gotten a little bit damaged and a little bit dirty in a couple of places over the years.
But honestly - and luckily - only a very little bit.

 The print had been glued down to a piece of cardboard that served as a backing, of sorts ...........
 ....and then it had been stapled into the wooden frame  which measured 18 by 24 inches.
 The print itself measures 16 by 22 inches, and I had been searching high and low for a frame to fit it - at a reasonable price.
 I finally found one just a couple of weeks ago at a thrift store that was just right!
Precisely what I needed - with glass, and it even had the wire hanger on the back already:
 So, what I needed to do was remove the stapled-on cardboard backing from the old frame, and then very carefully cut around the print through the cardboard, (removing it  from the backing was not a possibility, you see, as that would have only damaged it further) and then insert it into my "new" frame, which is exactly the same size as the print itself.
 I surprised him with it this morning , along with some of his favorite "Pine Nut Rolls" candies from the Columbia Candy Kitchen.

Since the picture had been relegated to a dark corner in the basement, he had not even laid eyes on it for years - and he was very happy to see it this morning, all nicely and newly framed.
 And that made me happy, too!


lorlore said...

Great gift!!! Good job!!!!

Tina Dawn said...

That is a wonderful thoughtful gift! I love George Mathis and you treated his print right! Happy birthday Brian. Looks like those candies are pretty nice too. Love T