Sitka approaches us from the back of Sitka Home Art Gallery, his Boston shop that recently relocated to 160 Newbury Street between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets. He’s a bluff, smiling, virile presence who shakes my hand, heartily announcing: “I’m a monster!”
I look for reassurance towards Sitka’s wife and business manager, Helaine Gulergun, who hovers nearby smiling reassuringly and, then, to my own wife, Madeleine, who is always reassuring.
Reassured, somewhat, I take the seat that Sitka is bringing and accept the glass of water he offers. Trusting, but interrogating my new sense of security, I run though my understanding of the different senses of the word monster: something unnaturally marvelous — a prodigy — of great size and ferocity.
The last definition is somewhat unsettling, but on the other hand, my company is still smiling and, to boot, I’ve just scored a parking space only a few blocks from Newbury Street and I’m damned if I’m going to retreat without a fight — especially with ladies present!