Friday, July 8, 2011

The Kitseallyboy Rug Affair

Working in the office at Twin Rocks Trading Post, I heard the door chimes announce a new arrival. Pushing back my rolling chair, I peeked into the store. Although I could not see who came in, I noticed Priscilla near the cash register. She greeted the guest in Navajo, so I assumed she must be speaking to an artist, or maybe one of the many locals who frequently visit the store to peruse our parlor of particulars. In an attempt to finish the project I was working on, I quickly rolled the chair back to my desk. In short order Priscilla poked her head through the office door and said, "Parnella has a rug to show you." "Parnella," I thought to myself, "who the heck is Parnella?" Seeing the confusion on my face, Priscilla continued, "Kitseallyboy." "That helps a great deal," I replied. I could not recall having bought a weaving from Parnella Kitseallyboy. I am, however, more forgetful all the time, so it was possible I had forgotten something.

Navajo 1950's early 60's Red Mesa Rug - Mary Kitseallyboy (#01)

"Curiouser and curiouser!" I said to myself as I got up and went into the store. As I navigated past her, Priscilla chuckled at my confusion. As though she was trying to help me make the connection, Priscilla said, "She drives the Red Mesa school bus for my grandkids." Emerging from my space, I looked into the large brown eyes of a pleasant, less than middle-aged Navajo woman. Her husband was standing nearby. We greeted each other, and she asked if I wanted to see her rug. Only an hour earlier Steve, Craig and I had discussed cash flow and burn rates, so I hesitated. In these times of economic uncertainty, we have tried to adhere to a strict financial plan. Needless to say, since we are moved more by emotion than common sense, we have been wholly unsuccessful in that respect. "Well, you are already here", I said, "so let's see what you have."

I gave Priscilla a questioning glance, which she ignored. I suspected Priscilla of having advised Parnella to bring the weaving in without first telephoning to find out whether we were buying rugs. For us, it is easier to say no over the telephone than face to face, and more and more artists are becoming aware of this weakness in our character. Consequently, I suspected Priscilla knew more about what was happening than she revealed. As it turned out, the weaving Parnella rolled out on the counter was an eyedazzler, one of my favorite styles, and it was truly impressive! As I inspected the rug, I realized it was of an earlier vintage, 1950s or 60s. The weaving was hand-spun of native wool, with a wonderful combination of browns, grays and creamy whites. There were two vegetable dyes of a tan/yellow that I attributed to rabbitbrush and wild carrot. The weave was gorgeous; smooth, even and symmetrical. I was more than impressed.

By this time the rug had been spread out on the floor and we were all sitting around it cross-legged. Inspecting the weaving closely, I realized I was loving it more and more all the time. "Please, tell me about it," I said to Parnella as I stroked the weave. Priscilla sat on the stool behind the counter, smiling knowingly. Everyone knew I was in trouble! Parnella explained that the rug had been created in the 1950s by Mary Kitseallyboy. Mary had passed away three years ago at the age of 103. The rug has been closely held by the family and passed down from mother to daughter over the last 60 years. Parnella, Mary's granddaughter, was the third to inherit the rug. She brought the weaving to us because she needed to address certain pressing family needs. It saddened me to hear she had to sell the rug, but Parnella assured us Mary would be happy to know she had helped in a time of crisis.

I struggled with my desire to buy this weaving. I would be breaking a vow of cash flow celibacy if I allowed myself to give in. My mind worked furiously, looking for loopholes and backdoor strategies. All of the sudden I came upon a plan . . . Traders in Training! This was an idea Steve's wife Jana had come up with a few years back that allowed our children to learn about the trading business. By allowing them to invest in art that is sold through the trading post, we give them a chance to expand their horizons and earn money for college. Surprisingly the kids bought into it. Silly children! I went into my office and withdrew the sacred envelope from my desk drawer. "Would there be enough," I wondered out loud. Parnella said there was, so we struck a deal. My children now own Mary's (Parnella's) rug, I am safe from chastisement and the trading post has an exceptional piece of art on display. Nuts to cash flow, I love a win-win situation.

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and The Team

Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!

Our TnT's purchased new treasures! Check out Traders in Training!

Enjoy artwork from our many collector friends in Living with the Art!

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