The plan for the day was going to observe the new Dale Chihuly exhibit housed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Massachusetts. The artist Dale Chihuly is known for his exquisite blown glass sculptures that reach breathtaking heights that seem impossible given how fragile glass is usually thought to be. My family had traveled to Boston to visit my Mom’s side of the family that weekend, and my Aunt suggested the museum as an interesting day trip to take together. As we prepared to go to the museum later that day, my grandmother reached into her bag and pulled out a little plastic package to give to my two-year-old cousin, telling him that she had forgotten to include the toy in his Christmas stocking and had meant to give it to him the next time she saw him. The toy was a Santa version of one of those classic tiny, squishy toys that expand after you leave them in water for an extended period of time. My little cousin Robert didn’t exactly understand the concept of leaving his new toy alone for a couple hours and insisted he bring the miniature Santa along on the car ride to the art museum. Now Robert’s parents agreed seeing as there was no apparent harm that could come from him carrying the small toy with him.
Fast-forward to the arriving at the actual museum, and my relatives and I are all enjoying the beautiful art on display at the MFA. The print work and three-dimensional sculptures were incredible to see and we walked the galleries for around four hours. At this point everyone is in agreement that wrapping up the visit to go find food was the best option seeing as it was nearing lunch-time. Robert up until this point had been extremely well behaved and was receiving praise for his patience throughout the visit. I also thought Robert was handling four hours in a museum surprisingly well for his age although it was obvious that four hours was his tipping point because he became visibly restless and mentioned frequently that he was hungry. His exclamations of hunger were only voicing what many of us were feeling so that wasn’t a major problem until we stepped into the food court and our eyes scanned the gigantic line that spanned half way across the huge room. We all let out a collective sigh as we joined the back of the line and chatted with one another to pass the time.
The museum hosted an entire exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s work and although his work had a separate exhibit, one of his pieces called the “lime green icicle tower” resided in the middle of the massive lunch room, surrounded by a circular bench with a small sign advising visitors to refrain for touching the sculpture. This sculpture was about 40 feet high with green icicle like spikes protruding from all around its perimeter. The tower was the focal point of the room and anyone that entered the room would agree that their eyes went straight to it. The food line was not at a complete stand still although try explaining that to a hangry two-year-old. To distract Robert and keep him happy, my older cousin Jules, my sister, and I offered to occupy him at the bench underneath the large green tower. We would be visible from the line and his parents were grateful for the offer. The pace of line had begun to pick up so we told our parents what we wanted for lunch and took Robert to get a closer look at the sculpture. We had been sitting there, talking for about five minutes when Robert fishes around in his pocket only to pull out the miniature Santa water toy from earlier and proceeds to have the toy walk across the stone bench we were sitting on. The sound of employees shouting orders to the back had increased and it looked as though the cafeteria had finally gotten a handle on the crowd. The long line had been moving up as fast as the employees could take orders. My family was just a few people away in-line from receiving their food. Jules, my sister, and I were relieved Robert would be eating in the not so distant future seeing as his mood had not picked up in the slightest.
As our parents and grandparents wandered in our direction with the food, Robert takes this moment to gaze up at the bright green glass tower and look at the toy in the palm of his hand. Without warning Robert pulls his arm back and proceeds to launch the tiny Santa straight at the art piece in full view of my entire family. Let the slow-mo movie scene commence as we all witness the Santa fly 20-some-odd feet up and disappear into the glass tower. Before we all could see the humorous side to this situation, we collectively searched the visible sides of the tower for the toy. The panic increased slightly when we realized there was a security guard that was patrolling the room although he thankfully didn't seem to have seen the grumpy toddler chuck the toy into the glass tower. The search was fruitless and the Santa still remains somewhere in that sculpture today.
Now whenever I see a picture of the green sculpture I can't help but laugh knowing that a tiny Santa toy is hidden within the spikes. My family and I will remember that memory forever and add it to the list of embarrassing things we plan on teasing my little cousin for when he’s older. That day helped me see the humor in certain situations and learn that as long as the action didn’t harm anything it’s alright to laugh.