Mark Ballard

Facebook and vintage rolling pins lead to a new friendship

Mark Ballard poses for a photo with Jimmie Lee Davis in front of the painting Ballard created for her.
Mark Ballard poses for a photo with Jimmie Lee Davis in front of the painting Ballard created for her. Special to The Telegraph

It all started with some rolling pins. The kind used to roll out dough for light-as-air biscuits or flaky pie crusts. I was contacted and asked to create a small drawing of a metal pitcher filled with a collection of vintage rolling pins in all shapes and sizes. I decided to post the small drawing on Facebook.

Another Facebook friend, Jimmie Lee Davis, of Hawkinsville, saw the drawing and asked if she could purchase it. As with many of my friends and followers, I didn’t know her personally. I wrote her back to tell her that the drawing was a commissioned piece and was already sold.

Jimmie Lee was disappointed because she collects antique rolling pins and definitely wanted a drawing that showcased them. She commissioned me to do a much larger original to put over a side board in her recently renovated kitchen. We discussed the details via private messages on Facebook. I quoted her a price and she couldn’t wait for me to get started. I asked her if she wanted to see the progression of the drawing as it unfolded or be surprised with the finished product. She opted for the progression.

After staring at the large sheet of paper for some time, the first thing I drew was a green glazed antique teapot. As I often do, I posted the teapot photo on Facebook and tagged Jimmie Lee. I added another glazed pot filled with rolling pins and, piece by piece, the drawing started coming together. It was a slow process because of the photo realism technique I was using. Jimmie Lee loved each addition.

As the drawing progressed, it hit me one night when I couldn’t sleep to add a crumpled bag of White Lily flour to the still life. I knew it would be time consuming and detailed but I put it in. Jimmie Lee loved it and said it was perfect because it was the only flour she used. It turns out that she wasn’t the only one who loved it. The White Lily Flour company saw it on Facebook and contacted me asking if they could use it in their social media posts. Both Jimmie Lee and I were excited.

Because of the drawing and our constant contact, Jimmie Lee and I were quickly becoming friends outside the confines of Facebook. Without even meeting her, I knew she was a sweet, fun lady. She wanted me to have it framed. I wanted to meet her in person so I told her I would deliver the framed drawing. So, with the drawing loaded, Debra, a close friend of ours and I headed to Hawkinsville.

Nestled in a woodsy area off a dirt road was a quaint, country farm house. Our vehicle barely came to a stop before Jimmie Lee bounced out the kitchen door. Her personality reached us before she did, proving my intuition was right about her. It was if we had known each other our whole lives.

I unloaded the large drawing and she led us into her kitchen. Old heart pine floors and warm wooden cabinets welcomed us with open arms. The kitchen smelled of pumpkins, butter and cinnamon. Jimmie Lee had baked pumpkin bread in one-pound coffee tins that morning.

So at home we felt, that we immediately started pinching off bites of the still warm, delicious bread. Jimmie Lee’s twin grandsons were there to assist with hanging the drawing. It was hung before the bread cooled. We all stood back to admire it. The drawing felt as much at home as we did.

Sometimes new friendships come to us in unexpected ways. In this case it was vintage rolling pins that brought Jimmie Lee and me together. As the dust followed us, we drove away with two loaves of pumpkin bread, a sack full of homemade preserves and, most importantly, the friendship we now have with Jimmie Lee and her family. I’m so glad she got in touch with me on Facebook. Otherwise, we probably would have never met.

Christmas is coming and Mark wants to help you get ready. Holiday wreath classes are scheduled at Hobby Lobby ub Macon on 6 p.m. Oct. 23, 2 p.m. Oct. 27-28. The fee of $100 includes all materials and supplies. Email or call for details and reservations. Spaces are limited.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email; follow him at creates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.