Saturday, August 19, 2006


“Rizzio's Rescued Art Sale,” said the ad. A friend called and asked if we’d like to meet them there, reading us the ad over the phone. “Judith 'rescues' art from garage sales, thrift stores, dumpsters, and anywhere else she finds it being neglected or under appreciated. Our house is filled with rescued art, but we just don't have room to enjoy it all.”

We rode our bikes over to this yard sale of art, vintage items, olive oil, and salt, where wine, nuts, and other nibblies were served to the browsers. Some figures on an old wicker table caught my eye. "Oh look, they have some horses here, just like --- OMG!" I stopped short, grabbing Lindi's arm and whispering urgently. "It’s them! It’s the horses! Look! the cut cables are still attached! Oh! I can’t believe this! How can they be so blatant! What? They go around cutting loose the horses and then put them up for grabs at their own art sale? Aaaaaaaak!"

I tried to calm myself by taking a few pictures before the abducted steeds might gallop away and hide in the garage. I glanced around till I located someone running the show and asked him, “What’s the story on the horses?”

“Oh, those aren’t for sale. They’re just out there on display. We’re hoping to find someone who can get them back to where they belong.”

That would be me.

The man (who turned out to be food writer Aaron Clark-Rizzio, hence the extra garage-full of olive oil and gourmet salt), directed me to his wife, Judith, for the complete story.

She was up on Alberta somewhere, around 24th or 25th, she thinks, and she saw a man approaching the horses with a huge pair of loppers and a hostile demeanor. She tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t hear of it. “This! is ridiculous!” he retorted.

“Oh, it’s fun! she pleaded.

No use. Lop, Lop, there they went. And he snatched them up, stomped over to a garbage can, and plunged them in. “And it wasn’t just plain garbage, it was messy, icky garbage,” complained Judith, who had then extracted them from the mess and brought them home. “The man seemed so angry.”

She did not know if he belonged to one of the nearby businesses. But clearly he was a person who worked or lived close enough to be bothered by the presence of the horses. Another clue: who walks around carrying major garden-loppers in their back pocket? He had to have a place nearby to keep a pair of huge loppers on hand.

Oh well. Man! Some people are grouchy. No doubt he’s got some really good reason to be such a crab, and if we knew what it was we’d all be saying, “Wow. No wonder!”

Two horses, saved, by art rescuer Judith Rizzio, and placed among a collection of other salvaged treasures, waiting to be discovered by people in search of art.
We bought a painting we both fell in love with simultaneously -- and did we transport the painting home on our bicycles? No, we did not. We smuggled the painting along with the horses into the four-wheeled vehicle of our friends, and lured them to our home with the promise of ginger beer.


At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi kate,

great story! i know someone who helps put out the horses if you want her email?

they are so cute!


At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Phil said...

A story worthy of This American Life. Awesome.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks Nicole, did you get my email response? kate

and as for Phil, whoever you are: Wow, Phil. Make my day! I love that show.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Aaron Clark-Rizzio said...

I loved the story, however I need to make one correction. I am Aaron Clark-Rizzio, Judith's son. The man you spoke to was my step-dad Jim Dixon (the food writer, cook, and olive oil pusher). I am unfortunately living in New York City right now and couldn't be at the sale. Your posting was the first I heard of my mom's find. Your story high lights how crazy and wonderful my mom is and has always been, pulling over on the side of roads looking for thrown away treasures. That was not the first time she has gone into the trash to rescue some artifact. I just love that she found those horses, they made me smile everytime I saw one. Thanks.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thank you, Aaron. I became totally confused when trying to figure out what his name was by googling the name Rizzio and finding this food column by a guy named Jim with an ad about RIzzio’s Rescued Art Sale at the end of it. I then looked up your parents in the phone book and left an apologetic message about possible name errors committed in the story. Thank you so much for writing in and clearing that up. And your Mom is a riot. I hope I run into her again some day.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Alexandra Fiona Dixon said...

Heya, I was doing support (from San Francisco) for two teams playing in the Portland edition of the Great Urban Race today, and one of the clues had teams taking their picture with one of the rings from the Portland Horse Project. So, in researching that, I came across your blog. If you want to catch the horse-napper redhanded, I would suggest having Judith Rizzio show you where they were 'napped from, put them back, and then stake out the location with a video camera or digital camera and get a photo of him doing it!


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