Her name is Mary Tiler More and she rarely leaves Ft. Lauderdale. At least when she’s leaving her artistically painted tiles in random locations throughout Broward so they could be found by random artistically appreciative people.
But last week she grabbed her passport and ventured south into Miami-Dade County to spread her artistic generosity. And to test our artistic appreciation.
On Thursday morning, when I read on the South Florida Daily Blog that she had left her latest painted tile in a stairwell of a Coral Gables parking garage, I decided to try and find it.
After all, I live just outside the Gables and had an early morning assignment in the Blue Lagoon area, which meant I had to drive through there anyway. But my assignment was at 8 a.m. and I was running late, so I continued driving without stopping to look for the tile.
Three-and-a-half hours and 500 photos later, I parked my car outside the garage, which is on Aragon Avenue, across from Books and Books and next to the Colombian Consulate.
I walked into the front stairwell and sprinted up several sets of stairs, but did not find the tile. But as I walked out on the top floor, I noticed there was another stairwell. Hell, there was another two stairwells.
So I dashed down the rear stairwell, expecting to have to walk up the third stairwell when I came up empty-handed here, convincing myself that this was good exercise anyway.
And there she was, leaning against a wall at the bottom of the rear stairwell; Clara, a green-eyed, red-headed dame who steals flowers to give to the older ladies.
I snatched the tile and walked out the parking garage through a crowd of frenzied Colombians, feeling as if I had just stolen a batch of flowers from the adjoining flower bed.