A few weeks ago Christmas pinned a picture up on her side of the work station. I noticed it on my way to the kitchen. It was cut out of a newsweekly, a picture of fatigued Filipino soldiers, rifles drawn. They were either engaged in a firefight or striking fearsome poses. There was a guy with one of them triangled wicker hats on a water buffalo behind the soldiers.
I shouldn’t have said anything. “Say Christmas, why do you have a picture of soldiers up on your side of the workstation?”
She said, “Oh, I hope people will not notice soldiers.”
I asked what else was in the picture to notice.
She said, “The land. The field, where the soldiers are, and the trees and plants behind. This is Phillipines, but land looks very much like American Samoa. It remind me of home.”
“Oh. Oh, yeah, I see it now. It’s a very pretty field.” I went to the kitchen.
When I came back Christmas had cut the soldiers out of the picture. There was a giant amoeba shaped hole, and half the photo was gone. The water buffalo was still there, though. And the trees and plants behind.
“Aw, no! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cut up your picture.” I guess she didn’t want to be seen as pro-war.
“No, no. Soldiers gone. But the hole is noticeable hole, hmm.” She went to the kitchen.
She came back with the picture stapled over brown construction paper. “Now it looks like mud puddle!” She beamed.
“Yeah, that’s a great mud puddle!”
I must have been unconvincing. She fretted, “Maybe I should find picture of pig to put in mud puddle so people will know is mud puddle.”
“I guess… I guess you could.”
She went back to the kitchen. I guess she was poring over the back issues of Newsweek in the dining area. Somehow she found a tiny picture of a pig’s head. She gluesticked it into the middle of the hole.
She stepped back, took it all in. “Perhaps it needs more plants around the hole to make it look natural.”
So she stripped leaves off a plastic flower arrangement and cut them down to size, then pasted them around the hole.
“What do you think?” she asked.
I said it looked great.
She took it down the next day.