|James "Son Ford" Thomas|
I was fortunate enough to meet "Son" Thomas in the early 80s at a Heritage Festival here in Memphis. He was in a crafts tent, sitting in a folding metal chair sculpting birds out of self hardening clay. Boxes of the clay and a small pile of plastic beads sat on a table beside him. I was thrilled and amazed that he was there. He had 5 or 6 of the birds finished and sitting on the table. I timidly asked him how much they cost and he reached over grabbed a bird and flipped it over showing the hand written price tag. $18. I went looking for my girlfriend (now my wife of almost 30 yrs). We pooled the little money that we had and I ran back and bought all I could afford- 1 bird. It has become one of my most cherished possessions. The simplicity of the design is beautiful and at the same time this bird seems to have a sense of self that transcends it's simple shape.