Tuesday, January 21, 2014

But For the Birds

Charles Earl Piepgrass, my father-in-law was a folk artist. I say was, because he is in full health care resting away the last of his days. His abilities to speak several languages, administrate hundreds of people, and insightfully outline the Old and New Testaments are in hibernation. Thankfully, his hand- whittled and hand-painted birds will always remind us of him.

In the last forty or so years, our Renaissance patriarch carved dozens upon dozens of feathered fellows. Last summer when we moved my husband's mother to an apartment, we divvied up the birds. Each of my husband's sisters and my husband got several boxes full.

So, this Christmas I filled our children's and grandchildren's stockings with birds. Now each child will have several of their great grandfather's creations. The birds sing songs from his heart. Their quirky personalities remind me of his quick whit.

 Usually, he painted his feathered friends.

However, if he had a particularly fine piece of wood like walnut or cherry, he would leave the wood polished.

Each bird is initialed and dated.

The first dated bird we have is 1973, the last 2013.  What treasures. I wish he could know how we all appreciate his handiwork, but mostly I trust he knows how much we value his faithfulness to his wife, his children, and his Lord.


  1. What a very beautiful and special collection! I collect American folk art, and carved birds and decoys are always high in demand. Your father in law is a very talented artist, Marcia.

    Is it snowing in PA? Lots here in DC!!
    Stay warm,

    1. Loi, Yes, we have a fresh 10 or so inches. It has been quite a white winter. Thankfully, it has melted between storms. I heard from my daughter that you got quite a storm yesterday, too. We will all be ready for spring!

  2. Marcia, what a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing the photos of the birds. They are so full of life and feeling! What a fantastic treasure to hand down to your grandchildren!