Not for one instant do I concede the color red to the Republicans or the communists, both of whom, in their ever-presumptuous undemocratic ways, presume to claim red as if they owned it along with all the banks and capital means of production. Damn them, I say. I like red, and no false claimants are ever going to take away the share of it that belongs to me and all my non-Republican, non-communist fellow humanity who, like me, like red.


I’ve always liked red, can’t remember a time when I didn’t. Not quite as much as I like green, the color of life—especially in returning springtime when green leaves are busting out all over. No, green is definitely the best color in the spectrum, and I once listed green among the top twenty things I value most in life. I like blue too, sometimes purple, occasionally orange and brown, possibly even yellow. But still, red is right up there.


I well remember those happy times in first grade when Miss Helen passed out paper copies of simple hand-drawn designs and told us get our crayons out of our drawers. We each had our own drawer, built right into the low tables where we sat in our little low chairs, four of us to a table. The challenge was to see if you could stay inside the drawn lines. Especially with red, which stood out so embarrassingly if you strayed.


One rarely saw any crayon box other than Crayola, because that’s all that was available at the ten cent store in our small prairie town. Many years would pass before I encountered that word “monopoly.” Even after I learned about corporate monopoly, loathe it as I did and do, I still liked Crayola crayons, especially the red and the green.


Then the war was over and more stuff began appearing at the ten cent stores. Places of wonder they were—some independent, some with odd names like Woolworth and Kresge. All contained endless tabletops with dividers separating useful stuff all households needed: needles and bobbins, affordable dinnerware, stove bolts and string. And Crayolas in bigger boxes—boxes containing double the crayon colors, then triple. And then one glorious day the Big Box containing something like fifty or sixty crayons.


Thus it arose that one had to deal with colors far beyond the basic eight. Red, for instance, multiplied into a dozen shades of red—things like pink, carmine, scarlet, burgundy, rose, watermelon…I could go on, but no.


Red is a perfectly lovely color, a slice of the light spectrum that can, they say, arouse artistic admiration, sometimes even sexual passion, in the breasts of humankind. Even in fierce bulls, the matadors claim—and I guess they would know. Here’s to red.


One thought on “MUSINGS: Red

  1. Don, you are a delight, and so RIGHT, (especially when you’re so wonderfully LEFT!!) when you note what a noble, sensual, lovely color RED is. Thank you for reminding us that we can love the color even when it is maligned by those who disgrace it by using it to symbolise thinking it would never condone. Red Truck is currently the rage, but we’ve loved them as dump trucks and trucks only a person who could handle a manual shift could own one. Thank you for your and Sylvia’s letter in today’s mail that introduced us to your new pubs and this site. Love U!

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