New Traditions With Artist Judy Mackey


angel and dogCreative Pension Payment:  Learning New Things About Old Friends

My friend Judy Mackey told me about the red string of fate.  I was not familiar with the Asian legend of gods tying an invisible red string around those that are soul mates destined to be married.  Judy had written a short story about this, and it came up when I told her I wanted to start writing about traditions.  As a military dependent with no roots, I felt like my life was lacking in traditions.  I started to wonder how people with similar circumstances created traditions for themselves. I decided to start with Judy since we are similarly situated; middle-aged, no children/grand-children, grew up as a military dependent, etc.


Me with Judy in Japan 1976

I first met Judy in Japan where our Fathers were stationed and we were attending Camp Zama American High School.  I got to know Judy a bit better the summer of 1976 when  I vacationed in Japan and visited her family.  Over the years we stayed in touch sporadically, due to the distance and lack of technology, until Zama started having multi-class reunions.  We didn’t actually see each other for about 30 years. Once I moved to Texas, we started getting together occasionally for “mini reunion” breakfasts or sushi dinners.

After 40 years, we find ourselves nearly neighbors in Texas and talking about traditions.   Judy commented that Military Brats are “OK” not doing the same thing over and over.  I agreed. Moving all the time, different homes, schools, friends….what would our traditions be anyway?  Her comment was the prelude to learning she didn’t think she had many traditions of her own.  As a half Japanese, Buddhist married to an Italian Catholic, traditions were a challenge.  The first Christmas dinner she had with her then husband  was anything but traditional – shrimp tempura at her parents’ house.  She laughed as she explained how he showed up in a 3 piece corduroy suit, while she was in t-shirt and jeans.

However, hanging around with Judy these days she tells a different story.  She actually does have traditions, or customs and rituals, that she practices.  She is a unique combination of East and West: IKEA furniture with a formal kimono hanging on the wall; chardonnay served with wasabi peas; salt on her front door steps for luck backed up by a “” security camera; and an “Echo Dot” within inches of a crying Buddha sculpture.  angel and dogShe posts cheerful coffee memes on Facebook each morningShe paints angels.  She believes in the red string of fate, eating noodles at new year to celebrate a long life, and staying in touch with old friends like me.




Judy now


Judy is an accomplished palette knife artist, who loves painting still life, people, pets and angels. Her work can be found at Crate & Barrel, Facebook and at















11 thoughts on “New Traditions With Artist Judy Mackey

  1. Judy is absolutely a special person. Having first met her in our 9th grade Into to Physical Science class. She also shared “The Red String of Fate” with me some time ago and it simply floored me with the content and depth of scope. Much like her paintings. In high school Tracy dated my best friend and for Christmas I was honored to photogragh her and produce prints that she eventually gave to him as her present to him. Tracy was always a deep thinker and one of the few people that would actually talk to this nerd of the day. I’m sure the adventure Tracy will be taking us on in future publications will astound us all. Keep up the great work Tracy! Looking forward to every venture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy’s paintings are stunning and it is wonderful of you to promote them. Like the 2 of you I am middle aged, no children or grands and a military dependent.

    One family tradition that I have kept as an adult is the Christmas Eve picnic.


    • It started when we were stationed in Rota, in the mid 60s. We would lay the same quilt used for summer picnics in front of the Christmas tree. The feast was a french loaf, a variety of cheeses, smoked oysters, ham, grapes and other fruit, olives, etc., and vino. Some the years the menu would be tweaked to add sushi or crab dip or some other food from the local region we were currently living in.

      So fun.


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