Sherman Hemsley died yesterday at the young age of 74.
He was awesome. Between All in the Family and The Jeffersons, he blessed our black and white Zenith through the 1970’s. When you hear “Weezy” you automatically think of him. The word “honky” always makes me think of the way George Jefferson said it. Or Richard Pryor to Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live. http://www.hulu.com/watch/1477 But I digress.
Sherman holds a special place in our hearts and in our home.
There is a wonderful art fair that is held every summer in Normal, Illinois. It is typically held on the hottest and most humid weekend of the year. They don’t plan for it to land on that weekend, it just happens that way. But the Sugar Creek Art Festival is worth the heat stroke. Traditionally, our attendance goes like this: I go the festival for a whole day with a friend or two, and John joins us late in the afternoon for a 20 minute swoop through the booths. Then we find our friends Dave and Barb, and end up at a pub for a couple of well deserved very cold beers.
A couple years ago, John found a painting that he really liked. It spoke to him in a powerful way. It was a 4’x4’ painting of Sherman Hemsley. It looked like this, only with a brick background.
Barb is an artist, so she appreciated John’s infatuation with a thing of such beauty. I, on the other hand, was silently appreciative of the fact that the painting cost way too much money and therefore would not grace the walls of humble abode.
Until we moved.
When Dave and Barb visited us last February, we were given this as a housewarming present.
On the back of the painting, Barb wrote, “For your garage or basement only!!” But it is a sin to hide such a thing of beauty – especially one that is that well done, thoughtful, hysterical and just plain perfect. Sherman’s likeness is now hung just inside the doorway of the bedroom at the end of the hallway.
He may have moved on to the “deluxe apartment in the sky”, but he will be a fixture in our household for years to come.