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Walter

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Walter comes to us from the last days of Christ. He is a Roman centurion commissioned to oversee the crucifixion of another in the what must be to him a long line of messiahs. These events are so routine he has even come out of uniform and removed his helmet. He does not care to see one more man murdered and has his back to the whole passion play. Yet, something has made him take a long thoughtful stare back over his shoulder. Perhaps the wretch on the cross said something? Did he say forgive? And in the centurion’s searing eye, in his determinedly clenched jaw, we see the question beginning, a question that millions will ask hereafter, “Is this man the one?”

The aged face of Walter is a friend from childhood. One day he “saved” my mother and I from a hailstorm. A heavy rain probably. I still see him walking across the electric green grass of a small lawn, his white shirt blending with his whitewashed house, his black slacks creased as neatly as the ribs in the black umbrella above his head. A giant of a man to my 5 year old eyes, later crippled by a stroke.

After the stroke he still remained strong. I would visit often and have tea with Walter and his wife. They loved to feed me. I loved it too.

It occurred to me on beginning this work that such a man would try to control this event, to keep the ghastly scene from getting out of hand. That kind of power would need a man who could stop a storm.

This is an oil on canvas.