My Home Looks Like the Uffizi Gallery
Part 1 of 4 Parts

I am a 77-year-old art aficionado. I love the arts, especially paintings. Over the past couple of decades, I have taught many different classes in the humanities, but the one that I love the most is teaching art history. I could teach that class 24/7. Trust me.

Actually, I took a 10-hour art history class at Muskingum College in my junior year. It was a required course, which was taken in either one’s junior or senior year. Even though I didn’t ace the class, my professor, Louie Palmer, asked me to be his teaching assistant in my senior year. In today’s world, you need at least a master’s degree to be teaching any class. Nonetheless, that golden opportunity was the best thing that ever happened to me academically in more than a dozen years in college, graduate school, and post-graduate school.

As Louie’s teaching assistant, I wrote and graded the midterms and finals during both semesters. I also taught a handful of subsections each week during that academic year. I know a great deal about Western art history. After graduate school, I went to New College at the University of Edinburgh for a year and traveled all over Europe during the summers before and after New College. I must have visited every Gothic cathedral and art museum in Europe. However, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was the pièce de résistance when it came to art museums.

The Uffizi Gallery

However, while the Uffizi is famous for its entire collection of all forms of art, Renaissance paintings are everywhere. While it is a breathtaking art museum, there is hardly any available wall space for more paintings.

I love the paintings and photographs that I have taken over the years of traveling overseas. This is a photo of one of the walls in my bedroom. It was taken a couple years ago when I returned from my second visit to my family in Myanmar.

This is it today.

That is the backstory. Ginger went to her vet for shots and her checkup on Monday this week, which was my 77th birthday. Ginger loves Dr. Sabedra but can’t figure out why she gives her shots all the time.

However, I have a good friend, Than Tun Oo, in Myanmar who is a highly respected artist. Last summer, I emailed him about wanting him to do an oil painting for Dr. Sabedra. When I returned to Myanmar during winter break from teaching, I picked up the painting.

This is Than’s masterpiece of Dr. Sabedra.

Than also did one of Ginger.

Ginger is now just over three years old and is doing fine. However, a year ago, Ginger developed some medical conditions, which were life threatening. Dr. Sabedra went out of her way to care for Ginger. Essentially, she saved Ginger’s life.

Therefore, Dr. Sabedra helped Ginger back to normalcy. Normal for Ginger is being an extremely hyperactive and affectionate Irish Setter. In appreciation of her caring for Ginger over many months, she received Than’s painting. When Ginger saw the painting, she rushed over to the portrait of Dr. Sabedra and attempted to give it a kiss. Like I said, Ginger is both energetic and wants to show affection to people she loves.

On the back of Than’s painting, he wrote in English and then in Myanmar, “You saved my life.” This is Than writing Ginger’s comment to Dr. Sabedra.

While Dr. Sabedra examined Ginger, I told her about finding Kayla who lived in my home and took care of Ginger for a month while I returned to Myanmar. When Ginger sees Kayla, she wags her tail so much that the very end actually bleeds due to hitting her tail on walls and appliances due to her sheer love of Kayla. Fortunately, her tail has stopped bleeding.

This encounter with Dr. Sabedra took place on my 77th birthday. I have done the dance with death twice…successfully. However, Randy Pausch, in his Last Lecture, said, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” I get that statement intellectually, but I also get it in my gut, which is more important. I know that someday, it will be too late for me to tell people what I appreciate about them. Unless you have done the dance, you really don’t know that your clock is ticking.

This video will give you a taste for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

If you want to contact a great artist and also a caring vet, these are my suggestions.

Than Tun Oo
No. 582 San Yeir Nyein Street
16 Quarter, Dagon North,
Yangon, Myanmar

Dr. Sabedra
Hobart Animal Clinic
2650 East State Road 130
Hobart, IN 46342