One of the guest blog posts that my friend Nancy wrote during my vacation last year was about her passion for creating miniature works of art known as room boxes. At the time I had no idea that she would make one for me. Nancy wrote:
A room box can be a replication of an actual room in miniature down to the last detail, or else a completely imaginary room. For example, I made my nutritionist an exact replica of her office including the same photos of her children that she displays on her desk in real life! But I’ve also made a tea shop that exists only in my imagination.
With all of my friend Frank’s interests — he’s like the Renaissance Man — I could never do him justice with a mere vignette. In fact, it would be as hard to box Frank in as it is to harness his boundless energy. God bless him!
Nancy did, in fact, make a room box for me. By its intricate detail, it would appear that she has been working on it for at least the past year. It is comprised of four rooms instead of one.
Each of the four scenes represents a different aspect of my life: Faith, Family, Fun and Forensics. The Faith side of the box is a representation of All Saints Catholic Church with a figurine of Fr. Michael Woods celebrating Mass. The Family side of the box is a representation of my home and backyard, complete with pool and fig tree. The Fun side of the box shows my radio career, my comedy improv performances and my blog.
The Forensics side of the box is particularly interesting. Nancy had been working on it long before I recorded my latest interview with Body Farm founder Dr. Bill Bass. Nancy created an autopsy suite from her imagination.
When I decided to show four sides of Frank, I knew one room had to be Forensics and your devotion to dear Dr. Bass and your love of the Jefferson Bass books. So, because humor is always a part of my boxes, I purchased a mini coffin as well as a skeleton with moving parts. I copied the book covers from Amazon and accumulated mini knives and hacksaws and rubber gloves and muddy boots from the Body Farm. The room was ready as far as I was concerned.
They you wrote your fascinating blog post with photos about your most recent interview. My sister and I were flabbergasted. The room came from my imagination but there were you and Dr. Bass with a skeleton in a sort of wooden coffin between you; and you alone next to a skeleton positioned as mine already was. I put the picture of you and Dr. Bass on the coffin lid; you saying “Murrrder!” and a photo of Dr. Bass’ collection on the red box. Isn’t this amazing?
The August episode of Tennessee Life will include Vickie Lawson’s interview with Johnny Majors and my interview with Dr. Bill Bass. The program airs on Sunday, August 24 at 5:00 p.m. on East Tennessee PBS.