Lee Jamison

Ghosts of the Atomic Age - Lee  Jamison

Ghosts of the Atomic Age, 2018

Painting oil on canvas  
18 x 24 in

Location: Hilltop Icehouse, Tx. Hwy. 190 near Point Blank

Leonardo Da Vinci, probably to thumb his nose at the dusty, hard-laboring Michelangelo, said that it was the privilege of the painter to listen to fine music, wear nice clothing, and hear the reading of poetry as he worked. I do listen to music, but I also have access to YouTube, and can listen to historical and scientific lectures and documentaries. As I worked on this painting I went through several documentaries on the Bomb and its effect on the generations of my parents and grandparents. It could be said that there was never a generation more removed from the world of just two decades before than that for whom these were the wheels of labor. East Texas was a part of that transition, too.

Joe Cobbs grew up in Dodge. As a kid he had farmed bottom land nearby with his dad, guiding a mule-drawn plow by hand. When he grew up he joined the newly independent Air Force, becoming a tail gunner on B-17 bombers. He was credited with a kill of a North Korean Mig jet during the Korean war. Over the course of his career he saw the advance of technology such as I'm sure he would hardly have been able to imagine from behind the mule. His crew even participated in the air-drop test of an atom bomb. By the end of his career he was on crew in a B-52, flying well into the 1960s.

At all of his postings Joe would try to have a garden for raising vegetables. Always well-grounded in the soil of East Texas, he was the most humble man I ever knew. We buried Joe in February of this year.

These simple, hard-working vehicles remind me of Joe Cobbs. And their contemporary, the B-52, still plies the skies of the Earth, protecting the interests of the United States.

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