It was 25 years or so ago, that my friendship and business relationship began with James Farris. Son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, sculptor, partner, and friend…these were the attributes that fueled our friendship, and perspectives that brought to life the images that became James’ body of work during his all too brief 63 years of influence in our lives.
From the onset of our friendship, we also began the collaboration of a total of 13 sculptures whereby James fulfilled his desire to create in bronze what became a series of trilogy’s that are today known as, ‘The Appledrum Collection’. The first of the bronze sculpture collection to reach the public is, ‘The Guardian Angel Trilogy’…appropriately known as Guardian I, Guardian II, and Guardian III.
As we had for virtually all of our 25 years as friends, James and I met every other Sunday for breakfast (along with my Jean-Marie, of whom James was quite fond and she of him), giving way only to the rare conflicting engagement by either of us. It was in October, 2010, that our happy ritual would come to an end, when James was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and was to pass away only two months later…December 17, 2010.
I was blessed to be with James much of the time of his remaining two months, during which we shared many opportunities for goodbye’s and, of course, the manner in which I would go forward with our collaborations in James’ absence. Oddly, it seems now, we had simply never allowed for the probability that either one of us would not always be there as support for the other. Nonetheless, that day did arrive and I am given now to pursuing the dissemination of James’ artistic gifts in his absence…satisfied that it is intended to be this way. Prior to his passing, James was baptized and received first communion. Although his passing was far too early, it was certainly according to His…a much greater…plan.
Through our discussions, and with James’ blessing of course, we agreed that I should proceed with the creation of a jewelry line from his body of work. To satisfy his deep gratitude for the wonderfully compassionate treatment he received while in hospice care with the Veteran’s Administration in Phoenix, James requested only that a royalty be created from the success of sales with ‘The Guardian Angel Trilogy’ line of jewelry…aptly named…‘An Angel Affair’, and be directed toward hospice care for others and to veteran’s affairs in an appropriate manner, as may be feasible. ‘Calling All Angels’ now exists to provide financial support to any philanthropic endeavor, in addition to James’ specific wish.
And so, to that end, I am pleased to present, ‘The Guardian Angel Trilogy’ and ‘An Angel Affair’, in celebration of James’ extraordinary talent as a sculptor…and the path we traveled together in friendship.
Every day and everywhere good and kind people perform unsolicited selfless acts of generosity and bravery. And at one time or another we have all been affected by just such an ‘angel’ in our midst.
Sometimes, in our desire to serve others, we both give comfort and receive comfort at the same time. Christian missionary Jim Elliot once expressed his belief that…“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Whether we are trading for things that we cannot keep…such as possessions and money, or even one’s life as our last measure of devotion; for things that we cannot lose, such as a relationship with God; or, we are ministering to the needs of another and merely giving of our time, we tend nonetheless to receive as much comfort and love from our experience as we do give comfort and love.
In times of need, when the seriousness of our circumstances may leave us incapacitated or lead to self-doubt, it is the angels among us who provide their message of faith, hope, and love. Scottish poet, George MacDonald, said it in this way…“If instead of a gem or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”
The name “Appledrum” was born from the lives of two remarkable women…Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and my own mother, Margaret. In her congregation, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa was said to have given an apple to the destitute in her care because she did not want them to die without possessing something earthly to have as their own (Psalm 17:8 NIV). The Little Drummer Boy was the favorite Christmas song of my own mother, Margaret.
Brought to life by my dear friend, James, now an angel himself, these expressions of gratitude in the form of ‘The Guardian Angel Trilogy’ bronze sculpture and ‘An Angel Affair’ jewelry, represent so well that which angels represent in the ways they give so perfectly.
May I speak with you at your convenience and share how your involvement in our work may benefit our efforts and leave a lasting impression on an angel in our community in your name? At your convenience, I may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. My name is Charles E. Cross.