The other day a friend dropped by and saw my paintings and heard their stories for the first time. He asked me when I was going to paint a portrait of Myron Starinshak. He said Myron was one of the most annoying people he knew, but on Holy Saturday, to not hear his voice singing the litany in front of the tomb, brought tears to his eyes. This is the 4th Great (Holy) Week since Myron’s passing.
I used to stand next to Myron in the choir. He used to ride shotgun with me, faithfully, to serve the homeless in Philadelphia. He also accompanied me on three trips to Pittsburgh to icon festivals to help man the table when I had “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art. I know more about Myron than I should possibly write.
He lived in a rooming house in Lansdale, PA, and managed it for the owner for several years. When the owner wanted to sell it, it took four large dumpster loads to clear out most of the stuff Myron had squirreled away in every possible nook and cranny of that place to make it presentable to buyers. Myron wanted me to find homes for two, large, plaster, baroque gilded framed prints that had been in the narthex of the church of his Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church as a child. The prints were not icons. They were sentimental, western guardian angel paintings. The frames were huge and gaudy. I had no place to store them. He just could not bear to see them go into the landfill. I agreed to find a home for them. I knew just the people who would like them. I gave them to a couple of good Haitian friends who dearly love each other and they have their pictures framed in these and hanging in their living room.
A couple of years later, Myron asked where those pictures were. I told him I gave them away. He was livid. He said, “Those pictures were in my family for over forty years!” I asked him, “Where were they displayed?” He said, “They were never displayed. They were too big. They were in my mother’s attic until she passed. then I took them.” I said, “They have not been in your family for 40 years! Your family has been hiding them for 40 years! Finally someone is getting some use out of them and enjoying them.” He simmered down.
Myron had a knack for saying the most inappropriate things. He didn’t have a filter. He had strong convictions, but they weren’t always educated with sound teaching. At the same time, he had compassion and humility and service that just would not quit! He did 100 little jobs around the church that no one but he and Fr. Boniface knew all of, to make the place cleaner and run a little more smoothly.
Myron and I had some great road trips. We had some great times serving on the street. Alex the Albanian asked when Myron stopped coming, “Where is that little man? Why is he not here?” When he died, he said, “I will pray for Myron.”
Painting is acrylic on 11″x14″ canvas.
Price: $150 including postage to US address
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