Jupiter, Venus, Jeff, Harriett

Back in the day, we believed that outsized personalities lived in the sky, also known as the heavens. They attended to important matters like the seasons, birth, death, war and sex.

Occasionally, these characters would meet up. They still do. For example, Jupiter and Venus, i.e. Big Daddy and Oulala Mama, converged just above the western horizon 30 minutes after sunset on May 26, 2013. Mercury also joined that party.

In modern times, herculean personalities are more down-to-earth. In fact two terrestrial heroes, Senator Jeff Merkley and our artist neighbor, Harriett Rex Smith, converged in Medford on Saturday, March 22. Jeff came to town looking for money (even heroes need lucre to get reelected) and Harriett sought him out to deliver a message.

(Full disclosure: Our daughter, Molly McGuire, is helping Senator Merkley raise money. Molly does not love money. In fact, she hopes that we get the big bucks out of politics. Until that happens, however, she believes that the good guys need cash to stay in the game. Molly has always been practical like that.)

Harriett’s message was, as you might expect, was expressed in a painting. A rough translation: “Jeff, you are doing important things in that impressive building with the dome. Even so, the U.S. Capitol looks pretty small compared with, say, the M74 galaxy.”

Miraculously, the Senate Ethics Committee ruled recently that Jeff can accept Harriett’s painting titled “The Capitol and M74” on loan. It will hang in his Portland office.

Unlike the gods of yore, who were distant and generally scary, you can actually get in touch with our modern heroes. Harriett, for example, has scheduled an exhibition and sale of her work at Green Springs Inn and her nearby studio for Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 (aka Memorial Day weekend).

Senator Jeff Merkley’s name will appear on a primary election ballot that will be mailed to you (if you are a registered Democrat) on May 2. If you agree with Jeff that we need fix a lot of problems that are much closer than Kabul, vote for him. Also go to jeffmerkley.com and throw a few bucks his way. Just think: one of these days this man could be the first POTUS whose dad carried a lunch box to work.