The bell on the door of the Goodwill store jingled as I was warmly greeted by a faceless cashier to my left. As is my established modus operandi, I begin every Goodwill visit with a quick trip to the “new stuff” aisle, two racks full of out dated products, many with their boxes held together by cellophane tape. I examined each item with careful diligence, hoping to find something that would change my life at a discounted price. It didn’t take long to sense that this visit was not going to be particularly exciting. I don’t necessarily want a ” Snuggie” and there certainly was no pressing need in my family for an ear dryer.
Feeling just slightly discouraged I made my way towards the mens clothing section. I patted down every single item displayed. Every t-shirt, button down, spring jacket , khaki cargo pant, corduroy Chino with full elastic waistband and Cliff Huxtable sweater on the rack- even the women’s blouses and dress slacks mistakenly placed there by some careless employee. I really wish they wouldn’t do that. I’m not fashion savvy enough to know the difference and on more than one occasion have come very close to purchasing a girls shirt. Anyway, nothing caught my eye.
I zipped past the wall o’ antiques followed by a fleeting dash through the
junk knick knack/small appliance/toy display only to find solace in the fact that there still remained the electronics/books/VCR tapes and LP record album section located deep in the back of the store.
And then…..it happened.
The purpose of my visit to this Milham Rd. Goodwill store located in beautiful downtown Portage, MI became crystallized in an instant. As 5 precious minutes of my life were being wasted reading the liner notes on an ” Earth, Wind and Fire” record album my eyes suddenly were drawn upward and to the right above the self-help books. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. “Really?” I murmured softly. ” These things still exist?” I then took a few moments to gaze upon this spectacle in all its panoramic beauty. There, situated between a reprint of a dull, hazy yellow bouquet of flowers and a wooden framed “picture-less photo display doo-hicky” sat a single portrait of the King of Rock n’ Roll forever emblazoned in living color on a black, velvet canvas.
Yes, my first Velvet Elvis.
<— Go ahead, click on it.
My mind was immediately full of questions.
” Who was the pioneer of this art genre?”
” what kind of person donates artwork of such an iconic figure to Goodwill?”
” Is this the same painting that inspired Rob Bell to want to deconstruct orthodox christianity?”
” How much does it cost?”
None of my questions were answered that day nor do I suspect they ever will. I was late for dinner and scurried off without checking the price. So, now I’m left wondering if that wonderful kitschy painting is still resting on the top shelf perhaps re-situated next to a poster of Fonzie or a nice acrylic rendering of ” Dogs playing poker ” ? Maybe someone purchased it with grandiose plans for their fireplace mantle?
I guess I’ll never know.