As if I were a calf at auction, Henry asked me to stand in profile. That night I was wearing knit pants, and my swelling outline must have been dramatic, but unable to see myself as others did, and curious but not offended by Henry’s request, I turned forty-five degrees to the left. Across the room, the writer made an alarmed-sounding noise. Henry announced, to no one in particular, “You see?” The

—  Carly Simon , Boys in the Trees



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In his early twenties, a man started collecting paintings, many of which later became famous: Picasso, Van Gogh, and others. Over the decades he amassed a wonderful collection. Eventually, the man’s beloved son was drafted into the military and sent to Vietnam, where he died while trying to save his friend. About a month after the war ended, a young man knocked on the devastated father’s door. “Sir,” he said, “I know that you like great art, and I have brought you something not very great.” Inside the package, the father found a portrait of his son. With tears running down his cheeks, the father said, “I want to pay you for this.ℍ “No,” the young man replied, “he saved my life. You don’t owe me anything.ℍ The father cherished the painting and put it in the center of his collection. Whenever people came to visit, he made them look at it. When the man died, his art collection went up for sale. A large crowd of enthusiastic collectors gathered. First up for sale was the amateur portrait. A wave of displeasure rippled through the crowd. “Let’s forget about that painting!” one said. “We want to bid on the valuable ones,” said another. Despite many loud complaints, the auctioneer insisted on starting with the portrait. Finally, the deceased man’s gardener said, “I’ll bid ten dollars.ℍ Hearing no further bids, the auctioneer called out, “Sold for ten dollars!” Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But then the auctioneer said, “And that concludes the auction.” Furious gasps shook the room. The auctioneer explained, “Let me read the stipulation in the will: “Sell the portrait of my son first, and whoever buys it gets the entire art collection. Whoever takes my son gets everything.ℍ It’s the same way with God Almighty. Whoever takes his Son gets everything.

— Jimmy Carter


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