You know how sometimes there’s just someone out there who you can totally relate to? Not in the standard way we all relate to George Clooney or Cate Blanchett or the like. No, I’m talking about someone like Debby Kaspari, whom I haven’t yet met in person, but still consider a friend. She’s an artist–the rare kind, the kind who can nail down her subject in one minute with a cocktail napkin and a magic marker. Give her some real tools and a little more time and she’ll blow you away. Just as I, given all day and a pencil with a huge eraser, can draw you, if you remain utterly still, and have it come out looking just like you, only with a bigger forehead and freakishly long lip and maybe a suggestion of there having been alternate primates in the woodpile.

Or there’s her musical ability. I listen to music!
Or how everything she does completely knocks your socks off. I wear socks!
Or how adorable she is, which I totally would be if I looked like her. I mean, the parallels–it’s uncanny.

Or, you know how you go into the next room with some idea in mind, and when you get there, you can’t remember what it was, so you go back out, and you still can’t remember what it was? That’s Debby all over. She went into a tiny storm shelter below her garage the other day, just for a few minutes, and when she climbed back out, her entire house was gone. Anybody could relate.

Not too long ago, I realized that the SAT scores I’d been toting around for the last forty years were missing. I toted them around because when I was younger I’d had an inkling I might need them some day as proof that I ever had two brains that touched each other. Now I barely remember how to inkle, and I’ve lost my SAT scores. Same exact thing with Debby, only with her it’s her sketchbooks, her photographs, her clothing, her furniture, her life’s work.
She’s finding some stuff. The banjo made it. Some of her artwork is drying out now. Some of it’s in the next county.
A lot of people would like to help her out in some way. All of her friends would, and a lot of us who only know her through her magnificent website and the good word of mutual friends in the birding and art world would, too. I made up a little design that people can have on a t-shirt if they want. All the profits will go to Debby. It’s not as good a design as Debby could have done if she were into self-promotion, but she’s not.
The two birds in the front are scissor-tailed flycatchers, the Oklahoma state bird. Behind them are birds from all over, western meadowlark to eastern bluebird, all converging with nesting material and hope. Well, that’s the Internet for you–knitting up new communities. It makes us all warmer.
It’s probably a great way of getting perspective on our stuff: having it all blow away in a minute. Most of us aren’t in tornado alley, but we’re all a short-circuit or an earthquake or a fallen tree away from finding out what’s important in life. Friendship’s got to be right up there.

If you’d like to read a little more about Debby Kaspari, check out my friend Julie Zickefoose’s four-post series (Meet Debby Kaspari, An Oklahoma Eden, The May 10 Tornado, Aftermath of A Tornado). She’s also got a direct donation button all rigged up and ready. If you want a t-shirt too, check out the button in the sidebar, right on top. It will be up for a while; or you can click right here. If you scoot around the zazzle site, you’ll find many more style choices than these. Even onesies. And to all of you: Nest In Peace.