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The two men sat roasting in their blue suits on the edge of a mustard field. Lucien Cardin, a local painter, had suggested a portrait. President and Vice President of the bank branch, maybe it would hang in the lobby inspiring confidence. It might even cast a little grace and dignity on the citizens of their hamlet. They were serious men with sober thoughts about an unstable world. The elder, Gilbert, smoked his pipe and gazed through his wire-rims beyond the painter. The sky was eggshell blue, and Lucien knew what he was doing when he begged their pardon and went to fetch the two straw hats. They were farmer's hats, for working in the sun. Gilbert and Tom agreed to wear them to staunch their perspiration, but they knew too the incongruity their appearance now suggested. And, as for the lobby of their bank, solidarity with the farmers, their customers. The world might go to war -- Louis flattered Schmeling the night before -- but a portrait was painted that day in a field of mustard outside of Alexandria, Ontario, of two men, even-tempered and level-headed, and of what they did next there is no record.
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Author:Tate, James
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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