Shades of Blue by
(302 Stories)

Prompted By Priciest Purchase

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Houses and cars, cars and houses. That’s all that comes immediately to mind when I think about pricey purchases. I have bought four houses and six cars in my lifetime, and nothing else I have ever bought even comes close to the prices of those. . . .

This painting, called High Jinx, would have been a dramatic centerpiece for our living room, which has light blue walls.

The featured image is a painting that I almost purchased last year. The artist, whose first name is also Suzy, is a relative by marriage – her husband and my husband are second cousins. She was going to give us the “cousins discount” of 20%, which would have made it affordable, but just barely. The painting, called High Jinx, was 38 inches high by 58 inches wide, and would have been a dramatic centerpiece for our living room, which has light blue walls.

We had seen High Jinx in her studio when we visited in October and I fell in love with it. After we got home, she sent us a photo so that we could keep looking at it and thinking about it. We had never spent that much on a piece of art, and were a little nervous about it, but the more we thought about it, the more we loved it. Suzy and her husband and daughter (who is one year younger than Molly) were going to be coming to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, and we decided that they should bring the painting with them so we could hang it and see how it looked before making a final decision. We cleared the space on the wall. We were very excited!

However, on their way to Sacramento from Berkeley, this happened:

Their BMW was hit by a tractor-trailer and dragged 300 feet. They think the driver was changing lanes and just didn’t see them. Nobody was hurt, thank heavens, but the car was totaled and the painting was crunched. Ironically, the pumpkin pie she had made for our Thanksgiving dinner survived the collision unscathed. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat it, because they were pretty shaken up, and after the car was towed away, they went back to Berkeley in an Uber. They did send us a picture of the pie though, so we could see what we missed. As you can see, she’s an artist on food as well as on canvas.


We may buy another painting from her, but we haven’t yet. So I guess this story is about the priciest purchase we almost made.


Here is Paul Weller singing Shades of Blue, with daughter Leah harmonizing. He’s been recording since 1972, originally with The Jam, then with The Style Council, and since 1990 as a solo artist. If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because “despite widespread critical recognition as a singer, lyricist, and guitarist, Weller has remained a national [UK], rather than international, star” –Wikipedia

Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    I will not protest that, since you didn’t get to buy “High Jinx” it does not technically qualify for this week’s prompt (and you acknowledge that yourself), because this is just such a great, amazing story of how you almost did. Who could have imagined that something like this would happpen, literally on the way to the sale?

    I’m just relieved that no one was injured in the accident — and, of course, that at least you (and the other Suzy) still have a picture of “High Jinx.” That said, I can only imagine how upsetting the whole experience was, especially for Suzy (and her husband and daughter), between the dangerous accident, the totaling of their car (a BMW, no less) and, of course, the “crunching” of the painting. But the fact that you could illustrate your story not only with the picture of the car post-accident but the pumpkin pie that you also didn’t get to enjoy is wonderful.

    And thank you for the explanation of your song title title and of Paul Weller generally. It spared me my usual ignorant googling. I loved the song and will have to explore Weller’s works more deeply. Plus, as usual, the title perfectly captured the theme of your story — both the predominate colors in “High Jinx” and the obvious sadness of this near-purchase tale.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks for not protesting, John. I figured I was entitled to a little latitude, esp. from you, who have been known to write about why you are not writing on a prompt!

      I have the pictures of the crunched car and the intact pie because Suzy emailed them to us that day. First the car picture, at 1 p.m., to explain why they weren’t going to make it to our house for dinner, and later the pie picture, at 4 p.m., to say they had made it back to Berkeley and apologize for our missing dessert.

      Paul Weller is great, and I love this song, so decided to include it in the story instead of relying on people (usually just you) to google it.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    The best news is that apparently the people survived the car crash! That does look like a lovely painting—and a lovely pie!! Talented Suzy.

    • Suzy says:

      Yes, of course, we were first relieved that they were unhurt. That seemed miraculous, given the picture of the car. And then very sad about the painting. And finally sad to miss out on that beautiful pie.

  3. Ah Suzy, what a shame, all concerned must have felt awful. Thankfully no human damage – but the painting!!!
    But I must say the pie is really a work of art!

    • Suzy says:

      Yes, it really put a damper on our Thanksgiving celebration! But we were thankful that they were okay. I agree, the pie is a work of art, and I’m sure it would have tasted delicious too.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    We exchanged these stories when you visited us over Memorial Day weekend, but seeing the photos and you describing it now really brings the point home. Terrifying accident (thank goodness no one was hurt besides the cargo onboard). The pie truly is another fine work of art. Hope you get a chance to sample another one soon, as well as buying another piece of cousin Suzy’s art.

    • Suzy says:

      We are hoping to get back to her studio soon. She said she would paint something else for us, but of course not the same thing. Maybe the same colors though. And we will ask for a pie like that for Thanksgiving this year.

  5. Marian says:

    That this is a dramatic story is an understatement, Suzy, and of course it would end with the painting being destroyed and the pumpkin pie intact. Sorry you didn’t get the painting, but relieved that Suzy and her daughter survived unhurt.

    • Suzy says:

      I thought it was a sufficiently interesting story that I could use it for this prompt, even though technically we never purchased the painting. Maybe this year we will find another one of Suzy’s paintings to buy.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    That painting was so beautiful, Suzy. Hopefully, Suzy II will create another one you love some day. The important thing was that no one was hurt, and that pie looks amazing.

  7. This story was a pleasure to read, although I realize that other less palatable emotions swirled around the accident and the potential purchase of the painting. It popped freom one paragraph to the next and then had an unexpected denouement. Well-told and an interesting way to respond to the prompt. Even the “afterword” with the music video was a cool touch.

  8. Susan Bennet says:

    Art love is a powerful thing, Suzy, as clearly you know, since the painting is haunting you still. How wonderful you have an image of it, though. Perhaps it will guide you to a future art love and purchase.

    Gotta say, I was hoping you would tell us about that convertible you mentioned once. A fantasy of mine, but I had to make do with a moon roof.

    Amazing story with an amazing end.

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