The Continued Anti-Anti-Clutter Campaign – The Stories Inside Of Things
He was also a trickster -- a fun-loving, all-nonsense artist. He could doodle like nobody's business, creating margins full of critters and creatures that framed his planning meeting notes.
"Draw me a giraffe," I'd ask, sitting at the dining room table with him or in a restaurant waiting for the waitress to deliver our meal.
"Now a zebra." He'd pull the pencils from his shirt pocket and draw right on the scallop-edged white paper placemats at Pancake Heaven or at Los Delicious.
"A Griffin!" Guiding the pencils to create a lion with the head and wings of an eagle, his thick hands and square fingers suggested a manual laborer, but their silky softness identified him as a man of arts and letters.
He could create a menagerie with a few quick strokes of his mechanical pencils -- graphite and red and blue -- realistic renditions of actual animals or fanciful versions of mythical creatures straight out of stories.
At the same time, he placed carefully cut pieces of red, green, blue, and gold tissue paper in the diamond-shaped windows of our garage. Switching on the garage lights at night, turned the windows into glowing stained glass windows for the holidays.
In 1984, in anticipation of the birth of my son, Dean, his only grandchild, my father painted a huge mural, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, in what was to be the nursery. Two yachts, brightly striped spinnakers round and full with wind, raced across a blue sea. Smaller boats dotted the scene, their white sails pale and dwarfed by the straining, round rainbows.
Two overalls-and-straw-hats-clad boys, brothers and/or best friends, sit side-by-side, backs-to-the-viewer, fishing off a dock. Were they meant to be "the boys", as my grandparents called their two oldest sons, Wally and Bob? Dad wouldn't say, but that's what Mom always believed.
A sailboat waits, hauled out and stranded in drydock, water just out of reach of its newly painted red keel. Traditionally dressed workmen labor around a wagon in an Okinawan street, a place where my dad was stationed during The Big War.
Engineer Wallace Griffin carefully labeled all his business papers in a precise draftsman style printing, while the artist Wally Griffin playfully signed all his paintings with a squiggled Wah-Lee-Gee.