House and yard

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    Photo: William Arnett, 1997

When I started decorating the yard, I wanted to do something that somebody else wasn’t going to do. I started pulling tires into there. I waited until folks went to sleep and dragged the tires from behind their houses. I didn’t want nobody to see me ’cause I didn’t want to hear the stuff they would say about me. People said stuff anyway: “Old L.V., she’s crazy.”

I piled the tires up and then I painted them. I wanted something to go with the tires. I already had flowers coming up all around, and I thought about shoes. I put the shoes on the sticks and decorated them, and the flowers grew up with them. People bring me their shoes now, and little baby toys, bottles, boards to make placards on, and Coca-Cola bottles, and beads. The idea of painting was always in my mind waiting for its time to come out. It had to be somewhere; it didn’t just come out of the blue sky. I keep my brushes close to me now. If I can’t sleep, I get up and go with my brushes. If I’m awake, I’m busy. The devil will use you if you ain’t doing something. If you’re using yourself, he’ll have to use somebody else.