This story is about an artist's masterpiece that almost wasn't, a daughter's gift that was nearly lost and a father's legacy that was nearly turned to ash.
The sounds of clanging, clanking, scraping and sanding fill the air at Sunburst Stained Glass in Newburgh.
Tucked away off to the side is Sue Morrison's corner office and she doesn't want to be bothered. The hand-written sign flanking the doorway makes that very clear.
Picasso used canvas. Morrison uses glass.
"A customer can come in with no idea what they want but by the time they've left, I have an idea of what they want," Morrison said. "If I can involve something personal with that customer, I feel like that connection remains part of the piece."
At Sunburst Stained Glass, that connection hangs on the walls, in the window and in a box on a table.
Morrison's schedule is booked until June 2013 but she's found the time for something special.
"This is the flag that was on my dad's casket at his internment," Morrison said. "I don't want to imagine losing something like this. It's something that can't be replaced."
Carefully, meticulously and methodically, Morrison peels apart the vinyl-based sticker. It's perforated around the edges of lettering that spells out a name.
The name is Captain Harry E. Thompson, Morrison's late father.
Her newest masterpiece would be a tribute to her father who fought in World War II.
It would also be a gift to her sister.
"That flag has been in my sister's possession for a year," Morrison said. "As Christmas was approaching, I was trying to think of things for her. I thought about having a box made for the flag, a wooden box."
It would be a surprise.
Like any small business owner, Morrison went to another small business just down the road from her studio on Jennings Street. She went to Egan's Framing.
It was here where she'd receive a surprise in return.
"It didn't hit me for a few days," Morrison said. "I thought, oh my gosh, it just about bowled me over when I realized how close it had come."
"I picked up the box and flag just before the fire, almost literally just before the fire. Had the fire occurred a day earlier or I waited a little longer, it'd be gone."
Glass is brilliant, precious and fragile, much like the flag she nearly lost.
"There would have been regret," Morrison said. "But it's one of those things that happens just like the people who were lost in the action that led to this flag being so important.
In her work, Sue Morrison can see herself and a little bit of her father too.
That's one of life's most precious gifts.
And to think... it almost never happened.
Ultimately, the name of Morrison's father will stretch across the middle of the boxed flag with frosted glass. It should be done within the next couple days.
Sunburst Stained Glass Website