The African Bat Tree

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Blog entry by NoLongerHere posted 04-08-2011 05:15 AM 1359 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently, I had to repaint a large ceiling under warranty in the living room.

It was below a bathroom that I had remodeled a few years ago. The toilet wax ring leaked of course and I had to repair the 3/4” plaster, then prime and paint the whole ceiling.

This was not an easy job as the room was full of artwork, paintings and heavy furniture. We had to carefully move everything out and lay down drop clothes everywhere.
Normally, I would just call my painter, write the check and be done with it but he went out of business and the client asked if I could do it instead of having to worry about a stranger in the house. I can understand that.
It’s been slow as far as work goes so I didn’t mind doing the job. With the downturn in the economy, I’ve returned to the basics. Besides, if you want it done right, do it yourself.
We also remodeled and painted the whole house including this room and the existing built in cabinet so it was still in good shape.

The homeowner was gone for the day so we had the place to ourselves.

My helper brought in the jobsite radio and turned on ”The Drive”, 97.1 in Chicago just in time to hear the best album countdown # 88, Steve Miller band – Fly Like an Eagle.

I had to smile as it was a trip back to high school when I cruised around in my old GTO with the top down and the radio on. The next album they played was the Allman brothers – Eat a peach, album #3.

Nothing better than classic rock, to me anyway.

We made good time painting the ceiling without any problems or mishaps. Like a good song on the radio, we came in methodically and made every move count. The mood was just right and we ended on a high note.

My dues have been paid.

But as long as I was there, I wanted to take a few pictures and share them with you.

I always enjoy looking at the client’s art collection. It’s a good way to get to know them better. I try not to be too nosy but, before you know it, they are happy to give me a tour or tell me the story behind a piece of art.

In the large built in bookcase there was this 1st edition hardcover book sitting at eye level on a shelf that caught my eye. It looked very old. I wanted to open it and see inside but I had no reason to touch it so I didn’t.

The next thing I noticed was a picture of Abraham Lincoln – such an incredible man.

And sitting in the middle of the bookcase, was this 100 year old African Bat Tree, hand made from metal.

Around the base of the tree, there were several little 3” tall native figures doing tasks by their tents.

Three native chiefs with big head dresses were sitting in the middle of the tree doing some kind of meditation.

This little guy was giving a back rub…. in the buff.

It has hanging bats with fox faces and nesting birds.

Two little natives were sharing a peace pipe. One native is lighting it and the other guy is smoking it.

My mind wonders, what is this?

On the other side, five natives are sitting in a circle passing a pipe and a native is lying on the ground in middle.

There were climbing cats and lizards on the massive trunk.


But, the best part was this little native at the very top of the tree.

.... all by himself.

....... If you look real hard,…….is he?.......!!!

Now that’s art! Ha!


I guess even little native boys will be boys.

I wonder if the home owner noticed?

Anyway, Good music and fine art…..turned out to be a nice day after all.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

5 comments so far

View Ryan Bruzan's profile

Ryan Bruzan

148 posts in 2314 days

#1 posted 04-08-2011 12:22 PM

Is he…? If I can read that picture right, he sure is! Funny, funny! Tell the customer? I would casually play around with it just like you did in this blog and see if they already know. Whether or not it is a great subject to bond with the client over, why not? That’s what I like about the personal side of professionalism: we can do whatever we want.

-- No matter how many factors go into thinking about a project, there is always one important new discovery to be made.

View saddletramp's profile


999 posts in 2057 days

#2 posted 04-08-2011 01:44 PM

LOL. Thanks for the mass-tra-musement. :-))

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View David LaBolle's profile

David LaBolle

207 posts in 2090 days

#3 posted 04-08-2011 04:20 PM

That’s a cool looking tree, and I enjoyed looking at the other items.

BUT. The guy who left you all alone in his house to do some painting work may not appreciate the idea that his trusted handyman was taking pictures of his treasured antiques and posting them on a public forum.

Leave well enough alone and don’t bring it up with him. It is just as likely to loose you future work, as to slake your curiosity.

-- When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 04-08-2011 06:40 PM

You restored my faith in the word “warranty” with you standing behind your work. That seems to be rare nowadays. You made my day!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2095 days

#5 posted 04-09-2011 01:34 AM

Mr. Wood… would be the first to comment HA!
Yes he is! Too funny!
This piece is over 80 years old. I forgot to mention that.
I’ve worked with this client for so long, we have shared many great stories about our families, pets, and possessions, especially their artwork. Both of our mothers were artists. Their 17 yr. old siamese cat, Epo and my 15.5 yr old Golden retriever, Kasey passed away while I was working on their house. It was a sad way to become closer but it’s still a moment shared. One of My best clients ever.

David, thanks for your concern but I got permission as would be expected, and they’re like family.
Besides, it’s just a muse.
never had to worry about work… that I think about it. My curiosity is what made my small fortune. but thanks for look-in out for me. bud.

Bob and Little paw, glad you enjoyed it.

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