in my humble opinion

Three little words

Posted 2/14/24

Normally, at this time of year, I’d be writing my annual “Love Stinks” Valentine’s Day column. February marks the opening salvo of skunk mating season, which is always fitting …

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in my humble opinion

Three little words


Normally, at this time of year, I’d be writing my annual “Love Stinks” Valentine’s Day column. February marks the opening salvo of skunk mating season, which is always fitting (IMHO), but by the time this column hits the stands, the ode to all things that smell (I mean dewy-eyed lovers) will be over and done with, so eh—why bother?

Meanwhile, it’s mid-winter, which means snow days, cancellations and a plethora of art exhibits popping up throughout the Upper Delaware River region. “That’s swell,” I murmured to the dog. “But how many ways are there for me to describe an art show?” She cocked her head, not grasping a single word, and went back to gnawing on her “bully stick.” Don’t ask, but if you know, you know.

The mere fact that I was considering checking out three separate art installations presented yet another conundrum. Not wanting to give short shrift to any show, I decided to hold off on expressing my humble opinion of Jaya Duvvuri’s “Rough Metaphors” downstairs at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) and an actual pop-up two doors down, Ioannis Glykokokalos’ “Nudes” at Tess Mainstreet. The nudes will be hanging out with Tess for a while and Duvvuri will be presenting a demonstration/workshop in early March, so, I chose to concentrate on “#LoveWhereYouLive,” presently housed in the Loft Gallery on the second floor of the DVAA.

“#LoveWhereYouLive is more than just a hashtag,” the program informed me. “It is a testament to the deep connection we share with our environment. Over the years, this hashtag has filled social media timelines with stunning images that showcase the natural wonders and cultural richness of our river valley.” 

“Well, that’s great,” I whispered in Gidget’s adorable ear. “But I still need a hook. How do I describe this exhibit in a way I haven’t done before?” 

Once again, the pup stared at me. “Don’t know, don’t care,” her blank look implied. “Try using simple words that even I might understand.”

“Eureka!” I cried aloud, and kissed her adorable nose. 

Upon arrival at the gallery, I cornered painter Cindy Shechter, whose piece “Before the Storm” is featured in the show. “Give me three little words,” I said to Cindy, “that describe why you love where you live.” 

After admiring the dog (it’s always about the dog), Cindy thought about it and said “Nature is beautiful.” 

Thinking that I might be on to something, I sallied forth. Artists Allan Rubin and Candy Spilner were nearby, so I approached the duo and said, “Same question: three little words.” Without hesitation, Rubin said, “beats the city,” while Candy paused before saying, “Studio, house, pond.”

Barbara Carpenito’s “Fall Color” photo on canvas embodies the exhibit’s theme and I took advantage of the opportunity to ask her as well. “Beauty, calm and private,” were the three words that she chose, and we discussed her work and gallery curator Signe Ballew’s inspired vision for the exhibit before I moved on, in search of my next victim.

DVAA volunteer Jeffrey Allison was behind the gift shop counter downstairs and had nowhere to run. “Peace, beauty, people. Why don’t you ask them?” he said, pointing to Narrowsburg’s own Cass Collins and Jim Stratton. “River, trees, Cass,” Jim said without hesitation, pointing to his Valentine. Beaming at Jim, Cass volleyed back with “river, river, river,” and I second that emotion.

Following the lovebirds upstairs, I cornered others. One of my favorite father-daughter teams was in the house, so I asked the same of Jay and Amelia Brooks. “I love crickets,” he said with a smirk, while she responded simply: “The color green.” 

Not surprisingly, the theme of the exhibit echoed in the halls. “Nature, trees, beauty,” was Mary Ardan’s immediate response and understandably so. Ardan’s “spirit doll” is composed of organic materials, including bark, seeds, crystals, threads and beads. The button-headed doll and her tiny basket made of dried daffodil petals is captivating, and I was mesmerized by the 3-D miniature aptly titled “Foraging for enchantment.” 

 “Communing with Nature,’’ was photographer Connor Simon’s response, while several expressed their love (and mine) of the twinkling stars overhead. “No light pollution” was uttered on more than one occasion. 

Multimedia nature sculptor Naomi Teppich jumped on board with “bark, fungi, fossils. And cacti,” Naomi added. “Can’t forget the cacti!” That’s more than three little words, Naomi, but I’ll let it slide. 

#LoveWhereYouLive can be viewed through Sunday, March 17. For gallery hours and information, visit or call 845/252-7576.

Ask the Google: Q—What the heck is a conundrum? 

A—A confusing or difficult problem or question. A question asked for amusement; a riddle.

Fun Fact: “Three Little Words” is a 1950 American musical film biography of the Tin Pan Alley songwriting partnership of Kalmar and Ruby, starring Fred Astaire, Red Skelton, Vera-Ellen and Arlene Dahl, with Debbie Reynolds in a small but notable role as singer Helen Kane and Gloria DeHaven as her own mother, Mrs. Carter DeHaven.

in my humble opinion, delaware valley arts alliance, Ioannis Glykokokalos, Nudes, DVAA, #LoveWhereYouLive , That Dog Named Gidget,


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