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A Simple Gift
July 30, 2009 - Bill Ackerbauer
The other day, I received a pleasant surprise in the form of a package from Denise Allen, the noted folk artist who lives in Palatine.
We had recently corresponded — I in my capacity as the newspaper's religion editor, and she in her capacity as pastor of House of Zion Ministries in Fonda — and she followed up kindly by sending me a nice note and a print of one of her paintings. Click on the image at right to get a closer look at the piece, which is titled "In that Great Gettin' Up Morning."
I was tickled to get this. Maybe Denise guessed that I enjoy visual folk art as much as I enjoy folk music.
Getting this piece of art — whose title is the name of a spiritual — reminded me of another spiritual, the famous Shaker song "Simple Gifts." Here are the lyrics:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come out right.
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(Image courtesy of Denise Allen)